I had been seeing David Petersen and his Mouse Guard series ever since I started working cons, but I never had the time to go over and check out his work (mainly because the line was too long at his table); however, I finally had the pleasure of meeting him at San Diego Comic Con when his table was directly across the aisle from mine. Both my husband and I fell in love with his work and we bought the first book, then at Long Beach Comic Con this year, we bought the second in the series. Imagine my joy when I was offered the chance to review Legends of the Guard, Vol. 3.
The book is created around the idea that travelers and regulars of The June Alley Inn who owe money to the proprietress must compete in a storytelling contest in order to pay their bill. Whomever June selects as the winner has their tab wiped clean while the others must pay within seven days. For those unfamiliar with the Legend of the Guard series, each tale is told by a different artist and/or writer that had been personally selected by Mr. Petersen.
Not having read Volumes One and Two, I was a little dubious as to whether or not any other artists could match not only the artistic detail of the Eisner-winning Mr. Petersen, but mine the depths of his themes of loss, sacrifice, and love. Boy, was I wrong. He has put together an exemplary group of people whose tales each reveal a different aspect of the human condition. As difficult as it is to pick out favorites, I would choose “Fallen” by Dustin Nguyen, “The Armor Maker” by Hannah Christenson, and a tie between “The Mouse and the Moon” by Skottie Young and “The Watcher’s Stone” by Ryan Lang.
Mr. Nguyen tells a powerful story in a mere two pages about compassion even toward one’s enemies in “Fallen.” “The Armor Maker” is a beautifully drawn tale about finding your inner hero, while in “The Mouse and the Moon,” a father teaches his young son that life is about the journey to discovery not necessarily the discovery itself. And last but not least, “The Watcher’s Stone” shows us that bravery and intelligence can come in unexpected packages.
I would recommend this all-ages book to pretty much anyone, but especially to parents who seek to teach their children life’s sometimes not-so-easy lessons.