Writer: Bryan JL Glass
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Volume One – Destiny
I’ll admit I’m often a bit late to things. But it’s something I think happens to a lot of comic fans. It can be hard to keep track of everything new, never mind being able to afford it. There’s also a certain joy in finding a trade book that one loves, and being able to read an entire run in one sitting. This was definitely a book that I devoured without straying from my seat. (Alright, my seat was on a plane, but I read the book twice in a row!)
What is our fascination with anthropomorphized animals? I don’t truly know, but I’ll admit to having an obsession with the mice and rats of NIMH, the Aristocats and the Fox and the Hound, and with Watership Down — and not only when I was young. Perhaps it’s that by using these creatures we can tell stories that would otherwise hit too close to home, or seem too fantastical. I don’t truly know, but whatever it is, it really works in Mice Templar.
The book uses an interesting mix of mythology and history and blends them into something new — a new story about mice struggling in an ever darkening world and somehow trying to keep hope alive. Karic, the focus of the story, is one of few who truly believes in the legends and stories of the once-great Templar order. The world has changed since then, a fact which is made obvious early on in the story when his village is attacked and destroyed by a band of rats. Karic – separated from his family who were captured by the rats – is bound on another journey. His is a journey in which he discovers that all things are not as he thought and struggles to keep his hope and belief alive.
It is both a beautifully written and drawn book. As dark as it is fantastical, and the story moves along quickly all while managing to communicate the history of these once great mice. My only critique of the art is that the mice can sometimes be hard to distinguish from one another, but it’s a very minor issue.
I find it odd that there are so few fantasy based comics when it is such a good medium for the genre. I’m very glad to have discovered Mice Templar, and will certainly be picking up the rest of the series.