Creator: David Petersen / Boom! Studios
Mouse Guard holds a very special place in my heart. When I was first really getting into comics circa 2012 or so, Mouse Guard was one of the offerings at my local comic shop’s Free Comic Book Day, and I absolutely adored the single issue. As someone who equally adored Redwall growing up, I kind of was predisposed to being a fan, but the gorgeous artwork, the engaging world-building, the fun characters, all of it coalesced into a novel experience. And while it’s been a long while since I’ve engaged with the world, the moment I saw the cover of The Owlhen Caregiver & Other Tales, I was easily intrigued.
As the title suggests, The Owlhen Caregiver & Other Tales is actually an anthology of three stories all written and drawn by David Petersen. And due to this format, it makes the story easily digestible even without deep familiarity of the lore surrounding the easy. Each tale reads like a self-contained parable, and each has its own resonant message. And one of the more interesting things about the comic is square-canvas, like other Mouse Guard stories before it. The non-standard dimensions allow for fun panel work and pacing, and it also allows it to create these beautiful murals that almost resemble Medieval stained glass art. Petersen’s art compliments the story wonderfully and honestly my biggest complaint is that the lettering is a bit hard to read sometimes, but that’s a minor gripe that I have with medieval-inspired typography.
But the artistry and the heart of the comic is brazenly noticeable, especially during the second entry of Piper The Listener, which was my personal favorite story of the trio. It contains such a mythical quality that expands on the different tenets and beliefs of the world that I became increasingly fond of it. But there is much to love with the titular story, The Owlhen Caregiver, and the final entry, The Wild Wolf, all contribute to the fantasy and the world in great ways and provide different things to latch onto.
Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Mouse Guard, I think this particular issue is special. I think it’s a great introduction to the aesthetic of the world and its general thematics. If nothing else, it’s just three really well-crafted stories all bound in a neat collection.
8.8 “[Quip]” out of 10
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