"A Return to Honor"
Writer & Artist: David Petersen
Publisher: Archaia Studios
This comic is a great example of how a book can truly be exceptional and all-ages friendly. It maintains a rich story and ample characterization, but it still contains a simplicity that makes it widely accessible.
In issue #6, Lockhaven, the headquarters of the Mouse Guard, is being stormed by other mice. Lieam is being held captive by these attackers, who are using his life to try to barter for an agreement with Gwendolyn, the queen of the Mouse Guard. With the Guard unwilling to negotiate, the invaders are able to storm the castle with the intentions of executing Lieam and taking the control of the Guard from Gwendolyn. Meanwhile, Kenzie, Saxon, and Celanawe figure out a way to sneak into Lockhaven to try to save Gwendolyn and Lieam.
The storytelling in this issue is concise and well planned; every bit of the tale here was necessary, yet still thoroughly enjoyable. While the story itself and the characters are fairly simple, the execution is so engaging that I forgot the minimalist approach and was totally taken in.
Similarly, the characterization is unencumbered yet surprisingly effective. For children, I would say that the depiction of the characters is detailed enough that itís compelling but still easy to follow. The heroes of the story are gallant, and the villains are treacherous in a fun classic sort of way, but without this being a tired portrayal.
Mr. Petersenís art is beautiful and detailed while still maintaining the bookís overall down to earth approach. Now and then the clarity is just a bit indistinct during some action sequences, but these rare moments are far outweighed by the charm of the pencil work. The art style reminds me of some of the best classic childrenís books that Iíve read.
The back of this issue announces a new Mouse Guard series, starting in July, and Iím excited for it. This is a great comic for anyone who enjoys a story thatís pure and out of the ordinary.
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