Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book #1

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, by David Petersen. Graphic novel.

Life is tough for mice. There are predators galore, and of course the Weasel War of 1149 was traumatic. In its wake, the Mouse Guard was formed. Their duties range from soldiering to guiding common mice between villages, using their knowledge of hidden paths, weather patterns, and predator behavior.

Three of the Mouse Guard's finest -- Saxon, Kenzie, and Lieam -- are called upon to investigate the failure of a grainseller to arrive at his destination. In doing so, they encounter a potential traitor within the guard, and their lives are constantly at risk.

Petersen tells a fun story, but it is his artwork that causes this work to stand out. For one thing, the size is unique -- instead of the standard letter-size sheet in portrait orientation, his work was conceived on legal-size sheets in landscape orientation. Folded in half, this makes for nearly square sheets of paper, enabling Petersen to arrange panels in ways that are different from other graphic works. Most of the pages have either 3 or 4 panels, but they are arranged in a variety of formats.

The art and style is stronger than the story in this first volume, but both are well above average. I look forward to reading more.

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