Mouse Guard returns for its third volume: the Black Axe. This prequel set in 1115, fulfils the promise the wise oldfur Celanawe made to tell Lieam of the day his paw first touched the Black Axe. The arrival of distant kin takes Celanawe on an adventure that will carry him across the sea to uncharted waters and lands all while unraveling the legend of Farrer, the blacksmith who forged the mythic axe.

In the previous volume, Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, Petersen takes us all over the world of these sentient mice, above and belowground, through twisting weasel tunnels and soaring hollow trees. In this followup collection of six issues, the artist takes us back in time, with an ever greater adventure.

Celanawe, pronounced khel-an-awe, Guardmouse extraordinaire, is tasked by his order’s commander to follow the instructions of his elder kinmouse. With no little trepidation they set out, and are beset at every side from the very beginning by all manner of obstacles. A rollicking sea-journey, a giant fox, and even the savage and noble ferrets they encounter seek to bar their way, but they will not be denied in their quest to retrieve the Axe.

Once again Petersen shows his commitment to storytelling excellence, alongside his entrancing and captivating artwork. He even had me singing along with the poem crafted during their long journey home. I was reminded of the adventuresome nature of Pirates of the Caribbean while reading this, and found myself drawn into the world not only by the art and writing, but the details, the world-building, every part of it that worked so well together.

IMG_1818[1]If you’ve read the other books, you’ll be perfectly happy with this – it’s more of the great work we’ve come to expect from Petersen. If you haven’t bought your copy yet, why the heck not? Get it today!

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