You’ve gotta love social media sometimes.
A couple of weeks ago, I’m on Twitter and I happen to notice a retweet from Michael Avon Oeming. The original tweet had come from his co-creator of Mice Templar, Bryan J.L. Glass wanting to know if anyone wanted digital copies of the latest chapter of The Mice Templar entitled Legend.
The Mice Templar is a series I’ve always wanted to take a look at but never have. Couldn’t tell you why. I just haven’t. The art has always appealed to me and the idea of an epic tale of mice with swords is right up my alley but I never pulled the trigger. Given the chance to review the book was an opportunity I had to jump at. And true to Bryan and Michael’s tweets, I found the books in my email.
Now before I begin, I want to reiterate, I haven’t read the previous series at all and I went into this review completely blind. All I knew was that it involved mice, swords and what looked to be a medieval setting. That’s it.
Oh and don’t worry, no spoilers.
Jumping into The Mice Templar Volume IV: Legend is kind of like coming into the original Star Wars series around Empire Strikes Back or the start of Return of the Jedi. It’s obvious that a lot story has past but after the first issue, you kind of get the gist of what’s going on and where the characters are at. The young mouse Karic and his band of warriors are on a journey and during that journey, they’ve taken a heavy toll. Karic is on the quest to try and mend the forces of the Templars together after being split but at the moment it doesn’t seem be going to well.
The writing of the series is really well done. It has an epic feeling to it but none of the stereo typical trappings of a lot of fantasy novels. While a good portions of Mice Templar is about prophecy and gods, major portions of the story feel more like historical based fantasy, like the story of Karic actually happened and has been embellished by Glass along the way.
As for the art… WOW.
I don’t think I’ve ever ran into the art of Victor Santos before but now I want to see a lot more of his work. I find that a lot of artists when doing work on a book like Mice Templar or with animals of the same species, will get lazy and draw all of the animals the same and hope that the colourist will help differentiate them. With Santos’s work, even if the story were in black and white, you would have no issue telling which mouse is which. Each of the mice is drawn with it’s own character. The background work really makes it feel like a real place. The icing on the cake is Serena Guerra’s job on colours. What was an exceptional pencil job becomes absolutely extraordinary.
The Mice Templar: Legend is one of those runs where everyone on the book has clicked together as well oiled cogs. The writing is great, the art is great, the colour is great and when all the parts are going together in the same high performance mode so smoothly, you get a bit of magic.
Now we come to the question that it boils down to in every review: Is this a book you should buy?
Yes, leaning to maybe.
I know what you’re thinking, “Where did the maybe come from?” After reading this storyline, in some ways, I kind of wish I hadn’t. Let me explain. Is it a decent jumping on point in the series? Yes. The first issue is a little bit of a struggle to catch up to speed but by the second and the various recaps in each issue, you’re good to go. But after reading Legend, I want to go back and start with the first trade. I really want to see how Karic got to this point and follow him on his journey instead of starting halfway in.
So while I think this is a book a lot of readers might be interested in, I’d suggest picking this up and the other trades at the same time. That’s what I’m going to do over the next few weeks.
So to Bryan Glass and Michael Oeming, thank you for the great story, I’m glad you sent me the review copies. My wallet hates you because now I have to buy the rest of the series but I’m content.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!