Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews

Mice Templar #2
Image Comics
Glass & Oeming

The second issue in this new series focuses on the history of this universe and the character development of the two mice we know to still be alive. This issue is considerably slower paced than the prior one, but makes up for it with layers of background and the addition of more mysteries.

Let me begin this review by stating that the page count is well over the standard 22 at the regular cover price and is brought to us with zero advertisements. Between this and the 50+ plus opening issue, these guys are playing with a lot of money in the bank from my cheap perspective.

We begin this issue with a full page run down of a) the history of the Templar, that we know of to this point and b) the events of the previous issue. This is a slam-dunk for any new reader. And when you consider the last issue came out about two months prior to this one, I don’t have to dig it out to remember what has happened.

The old man Templar, Pilot, and what seems to be the only free survivor of the massacred village, Karic, are trying to piece together what had happened in the raid of their village. Pilot tells his story about how he entered the battle and what had occurred that left him in the wounded state that Karic found him in.

Pilot is also able to reveal some details about the rats that attacked the mice. He explained how a Grub, or a fallen Templar, was leading the rats into battle. This is an interested nugget because I had a difficult time deciphering rat from mouse last issue. I dismissed it figuring that I was either not a rodent identification expert or that it wasn’t important for me to know who was being killed unless it was one of the main rodents. From a plot perspective this is interesting that rats and mice could co-exist and that a Templar could totally defect against his species. I found this development to be very cool.

From here Pilot and Karic begin to form the teacher-student relationship as the next generation Templar begins to be trained. Along the way we are given a ton of background on the formation of this particular universe. We learn about the Wotan forming the world, the serpent, Donas leading the charge to bring the world into darkness, the bats taking over, the owls rebelling and ultimately the formation of the Templar. The Kuhl-en may either be the founder of the Templar or a collection of the best of the Templar depending on which version Pilot feels like telling Karic. There seems to be a gray area about what the roots of the Templar were based on fact and which based on ideas or myths.

While we don’t get much background about the downfall of the Templar, the female archers from the first issue or even much of Pilot’s story we do get enough to fill in some holes and realize there are more creatures to this war then just mice and rats.

The next development is with the Grub following Pilot and Karic. The Grub battles a cat, which was different. After some more training Pilot and Karic find some dead rats, with some impaled. Pilot decides he must know why they were killed so he raises the dead rats so he can chat with them. Of course, this plan backfires because usually zombies aren’t your friends. The issue ends with the Grub watching on as Karic and Pilot are overrun by the rat zombies.

This issue has a lot of character development and interaction between Karic and Pilot. The story gives a boat load of details in the history lessons that Pilot gives Karic. It’s a very detailed story and it flows fast and even.

However, I preferred more action. I realize we needed somewhat of a breather from the all-out destruction of the previous issue, but there was such a small amount of action. I could have used more in the battle between the bats and owls or more of the serpent taking over the lands. Even the Grub killing the cat would have been enough. I just felt the issue was too much like a ramp up (or lull) to the next big fight in issue three.

The artwork is fantastic. The pages are spooky and the dead, nothingness of the some of the scenery sets the tone very well. The two images that I enjoyed the most were the impaled rats and the close-up of the Grub. The Grub is as battle-worn and beat-down as Pilot or the deceased Deishun. It seems the Templar take a licking and keep on ticking, but with plenty of scars and disfigurement.

Now, in the back of the issue they printed some letters and one of the letters takes issue to this story stating that it rips off Star Wars too much. I have to admit I felt a similar way when I read the first issue with Pilot or Deishun being the Obi-Wan and the Karic watching his family die, etc. However, I actually find this story to have more layers, more history and actually a vaster universe to these characters than Star Wars. I know it sounds nuts, but I find this story already, after two issues, to have more care and detail put into it than the first few chapters of Lord of the Rings of the Hobbit. And besides if it were really like Star Wars, wouldn’t you want to know how a rat could be a father to a mouse?

I enjoyed this issue, but not as much as the first. To be honest, the first issue spoiled me with art, action and a high page count so how could it really be topped? This one gave a deeper story and still a bloated page count. If you like character driven stories about fantasy, sword and sorcery, mice or even just old fashioned darkness then I recommend this title in a big way.

4 out of 5 geek goggles.

Check out the next issue...

Mice Templar #3

Image Comics