If you visit us often, I’m sure you’ve come to the conclusion that I am in love with Bryan J.L. Glass and Victor Santos’ comic Furious. It is my current favorite superhero comic, and so much more than that. But it isn’t the only book that Glass and Santos have been acclaimed for. Long before Furious was beating up the other superheroes on the comic store shelves, they, along with Michael Avon Oeming, created another brilliant, genre defining series; Mice Templar.
“THE CHARGE!” The restored Templar face their greatest challenge: to put aside a generation of enmity and distrust and take on the might of the rat army in one desperate charge against their enemies, their insidious allies, and the coming of dawn itself. But is the “Legend of Karic” enough to dispel the tensions that simmer within the Templar ranks and to defy the Death Magic of the druids before all are lost?
Glass and Santos bring a depth to everything they produce, using philosophy and metaphor to explore and expose the human condition, something unseen in most comics today. And, I know these mighty warriors aren’t human, but Glass and Santos very casually make you forget that little fact; Karic is a far more human character than most, with flaws, uncertainties, doubts, and righteous anger when required. It is a read unlike anything out there, especially with this newest issue.
It’s the ultimate battle, as Karic leads the charge against the enemy in an incredible 22 page spread that surges the action on with violence and injuries aplenty. Karic, our hero, brings the battle to the bad guys, and it is an incredible thing to behold! The issue is bookended with single splash pages, but the 22 pages in-between are a continuous image panning the entire battlefield, following Karic to… well, we won’t spoil that for you. What Glass and company have done here is as ambitious as it is complex, showing the true horrors of war, and what happens when one group is oppressed for so long.
But it’s not all mindless violence; this battle is more than just a means to an end, with many personal battles being played out as well. This issue has been coming for a long time, and it definitely delivers on the promise set forth by its very nature as an epic fantasy story. There are so many factions involved here, with every one of them having their own agenda, and it was bound to get messy. This ambitious series is hurtling toward the final battle with issue #19, and it continues to awe and inspire with every issue. Glass’ dialog is as crisp as ever, moving the story along at a frenetic pace. Karic’s grand speech on page one shows his evolution throughout the series, from idealist to savior, finally reuniting the Templar against the rat army and fulfilling his self-imposed destiny.
The action is intense, blood spattered page after blood spattered page showing that Karic will get what he wants by any means necessary. It is a relatively quick read, but you’ll definitely want to go back and pour over every page, soaking up the insane amount of detail put forth by Victor Santos and Serena Guerra. This is a comic that looks as good as it reads, and Santos really outdid himself; this is a masterful work by an artist with a singular vision. The characters dance across the pages, with a complex choreography of swordplay that is as exciting as it is deadly. And the colors by Serena Guerra make it all the more gruesome, giving Santos’ art a real depth, bringing you right into the battlefield. Her palette is perfect, giving life to the world these characters inhabit; you can feel the dust on your face, smell the blood on the swords.
Once again Mice Templar has accomplished something unique and wonderful, and by that last page left me panting for more, but while I wait, I’m going to go read it again.
Mice Templar volume 4 #12 is available now from Image Comics.