The Black Axe is the third series set in David Petersen's Mouse Guard world, and as incredible as Fall 1152 and Winter 1152 are, The Black Axe is clearly a cut above. The series provides more information, new locations, the history of characters, and the uncovering of legends all set around an epic journey filled with plenty of obstacles to overcome. The series is action-packed, thoughtful, and immensely satisfying. It could be that I've been dying for a new Mouse Guard series for a while, but The Black Axe impressed me with all it delivers.
Issue #6 in particular answers the most questions about the history of The Black Axe, finally clarifying the last few details. As much as it seemed like all the big questions were already answered, I was pleasantly surprised by the few things I got wrong about the Axe's nature and about Celanawe's part in the Axe's story. Furthermore, this issue finally answers some questions about where the series is going in the future once Petersen returns to writing stories set in the “modern day” of 1153. I have zero complaints about any of the answers Issue #6 provides.
Petersen's art is always fantastic, but looking back at the original art for Fall 1152, it's obvious that Petersen has honed his craft. The characters and setting look more incredible than ever, with rich details and a simply gorgeous coloring job. I especially loved that this issue introduces a few more cities in the Territories, and Petersen makes sure to give readers a clear look at what mouse life is like. The background is always bustling with activity as mice go about their daily lives. These little details add a lot of life to the world and make the mice characters so much more relatable.
The Black Axe is a worthy addition to the Mouse Guard library of books, and Issue #6 is a brilliant capstone. All six issues are currently available individually, and the hardcover collection of the series is scheduled to be released in June 2013.