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Mouse Guard: The Black Axe

(Mouse Guard #3)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,791 ratings  ·  202 reviews
In Mouse Guard, mice struggle to live safely and prosper among all of the world’s harsh conditions and predators. Thus the Mouse Guard was formed. They are not simply soldiers that fight off intruders; rather, they are guides for commonmice looking to journey without confrontation from one hidden mouse village to another. The Guard patrol borders, find safeways and paths ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 21st 2013 by Titan Books (Titan Entertainment Group)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  2,791 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

Who said that mice were wimps? One mouse (whose name is impossible for me to remember) is approached by his cousin, Em, to hunt down the family "Black Axe". It's a cute little fantasy story with mice. The art was pleasant, the story was pretty typical but decent, the text was a pain to read - but overall, I had a good time reading this.
Quentin Wallace
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Think of Lord of the Rings, mixed up with a bit of Game of Thrones with maybe even a dash of The Odyssey...with mice as the main characters. It sounds silly, but let me assure you, it's not nearly as silly as it sounds. This is a pretty serious fantasy adventure, and using mice, ferrets, and other animals as characters enhanced rather than detracted from the story. This serves as a prequel to the very first Mouse Guard series, and we get to see a great quest. The quest is a time honored ...more
Dani Shuping
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
ARC provided by NetGalley

The Mouse Guard has faced one of it’s greatest challenges, treason from within, and managed to survive thanks to the actions of other brave mice of the guard…and the Black Axe a lost hero. In this prequel Celanawe, the Black Axe, tells the story he promised to tell Lieam...the story of how he came by the Black Axe. Celanawe is a one of the guard, one of the bravest there is, and is happy to serve for as long as he is able. Until a relative, Em, comes to take him on a
[Name Redacted]
Easily the best entry in the series to date. A simultaneous prequel to the main series and a follow-up to Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, it is also both the most emotional and the most engaging story I've read this year. I was literally moved to tears more than once while reading it.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, a
The Mouse Guard universe gets expanded slightly. This is the story of The Black Axe, which really is the entire story of the three Mouse Guard books.

I enjoyed the characters but the plot is lacking quite a bit. As a library rental, this was worth it, but I couldn't justify spending money on the book.

The font used for the text was horrible. I found it hard to read.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy the whole package Petersen puts together, a great little adventure story surrounding the legendary Black Axe and a fantastic realistic art style combined with a fairly somber color palatte.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this one first even though it's listed as #4, it actually starts the story.

And what a fine story. And fuck me, the illustrations are absolutely stunning.
Mayank Agarwal
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, comics
The best book yet in the series, fantastic illustrations and an engaging story.

The book can be read as a standalone.

The story itself is straightforward but does have good plotting, pacing and emotions. If you are interested in a fantasy book with medieval theme and adventures, look no further. Even thou it centres around mice, it is not silly but serious.

I have always loved the artwork in this series and it only seems to be getting better, Peterson's art is cleaner and more detailed from
Wayne McCoy
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
Celanawe is a mouse and a trusted guard in the medieval world of Mouse Guard. The world is populated by many intelligent animals, including the dangerous ferrets and foxes. When Celanawe is sent on a quest with the elder Em, it takes him on a journey over land and sea that will leave him forever changed.

This is my first exposure to the world of Mouse Axe, but I was struck by such a well written story. This book works as a stand alone. There are references to previous stories, but I was able to
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've waited a long time for all the issues to be out so I could read them in succession (two years and three months for six issues!). It was worth the wait, I think The Black Axe is possibly the best Moust Guard story yet. The art is much improved since Mouse Guard: Fall 1152. David Petersen's work is much cleaner and more detailed now and that makes the story even better. Personally, I loved the foxes that appear in this volume, they're stunningly beautiful (and such a sad part of the story).

Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Black Axe acts as a prequel to Fall and Winter, detailing how the fabled weapon came into possession of Celanawe. While I didn't enjoy it as much as Winter, it is still a gripping tale of a mouse's odyssey to reclaim his birthright and set history into motion.
Aro Rusco
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most beautiful Mouse Guard book yet. David Petersen truly blew me away with this one; by far my favourite Mouse Guard book.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Possibly my favourite volume. Although I do agree with others here that the text in the narration boxes wasn't always immediately legible.
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novel begins in the year 1153 with a search for Celanwe, a missing mouse. Celanwe had a good life. He is the head of the Mouse Guard and he is in love albeit secretly. However, when Em showed up, telling him he is her only living relative and they must find the black axe, he had no choice but to accompany on her quest. So begins an adventure which will take him across continents and into the very mouth of his enemies.

Mouse Guard: The Black Axe is the prequel to the Mouse Guard
The Sapphic Nerd
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't find a copy of volume 2 so I skipped ahead to The Black Axe and it's improved since volume 1. This storyline is more interesting, with the classic adventure feel to it. There are also less characters to keep in mind, which is always a plus for me. Characters and character development could still use some work. I didn't get as attached to the characters as I could have because there wasn't much to latch onto.

The art has been consistently lovely. The whole series has a Medieval look,
Matthew Hunter
Yet another 5-star effort by David Petersen. He tells the backstory of Celanawe and the Black Axe. I especially loved the drawings of the Ferret King Luthebon and his minions. The band of marauding fishers - with their vicious tearing apart of victims and wearing the bones and pelts of their kills - adds an Apocalypse Now-meets-Lord of the Flies vibe to the tale. It'll make you uncomfortable at times in a Game of Thrones sort of way. It works well.

My only complaint? The font made reading
Kelsey Thomson
Perhaps I was missing some of the world immersion as I haven't read any of the other stories, but I found the story was a bit lackluster and stereotypical. I loved the artwork, it was what kept me reading this graphic novel. The font was dreadful, why a serif font would be chosen for any large amounts of text I don't know. Gorgeous artwork though, so if you're into typical adventure stories and beautiful graphics then this is for you - it really wasn't for me.
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic art, with a very good story.

Although the story in this one wasn't as good as that of the other two books, it was still better than most of the other graphic novels I've read this year.

This story is actually a prequel to the other two books and is basically a "quest" for the Black Axe. One gets a feeling that it will have repercussions on future stories as well.

Can't wait to find out. These are slow in coming, but every book has been Worth the wait. Publishing
I adore Mouse Guard. Mouse Guard is the best. I was worried that an "epic flashback" might distort the premise too much, but boy was I wrong; Petersen's craft just keeps improving. The fox in the mist! -MK
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The artwork, character design, and story in this is amazing. It takes me back to my first reading of Redwall and I loved every minute of it.
Gorgeous art. I like this mouse adventure/fantasy series - it reminds me a little of Brian Jacques and Redwall.
The artwork was masterful and was accompanied by classic storytelling.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics-fantasy
This is the story of how Celanawe became the Black Axe. It also reveals the importance of the legend for the Mouse Guard and the great lengths the wielder of the weapon will go to protect it. It's a good story in which a skilled fighter must defeat stronger foes and ultimately become a legend by severing all ties from other mice. It felt even better than the first two volumes given its scope and the need for the main character to dedicate the rest of his life to a mission that no other mouse ...more
Marc Jentzsch
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
So...Mouse Guard.

This property is quite obviously a labor of love. It shows in the art, the storytelling, the care in which the world is crafted. Owing more than a little to Redwall, Mrs. Frisbee, and Watership Down, the Mouse Guard books are an attempt to hold up a tiny, filthy mirror and have us glean insights into ourselves, even when couched as mere adventure tales. Whether intended or not, the heft of the stories is in their diminutive portrait of humanity.

While Mouse Guard takes shorthand
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always loved Mouse Guard because of the artwork and the story and this installment was no let down, it was great to read a story like this again. I'm a little surprised of it's rating for 'Everyone' meaning any age can read it. I rather disagree with that. It mentions it has some violence but not a lot which is true. However, this book really touches on Death more than a few times. With that I don't feel it's suited for very young children. I mean it's done in a tasteful way but a rating ...more
Korey Pasch
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Petersen's Mouse Guard: The Black Axe tells the story of Celenawe and how he came to possess and personify the Black Axe: a mouse charged with dispensing justice and protecting mousekind. The book takes the reader on a wonderful and engaging story that I found very enjoyable. In fact, I liked The Black Axe more than the first two entries in the series, Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Mouse Guard: Winter 1152.

Petersen does a great deal of world building in The Black Axe, making the realms of mice feel
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2018, digital, favorites
Black Axe is for me so far the best Mouse guard book of them all. But thanks to the other ones, too. If you'll read it how it supposed to be done (Summer, Winter, you can fit the Legends here, if you want, then Black Axe), the story is told to perfectly fit together along the Black Axe and especially at the end. I, unfortunately, must stop here to prevent any spoilers and let you enjoyed it as I did. But I can say both the lore and the story are brilliant. And accompanied by beautifully done ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I greatly enjoyed the first two volumes of the Mouse Guard series, but The Black Axe was something truly special, elevating the series to new emotional and narrative heights that frankly I wouldn't necessarily have thought it capable of. From its clever framing device (and its later subversion), its ability to expertly hit resonant emotional beats (y'all I legit cried three times while reading this miniseries), and finally its recontextualizing of what we knew from the two previous series, this ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic series for anyone who likes earnest, heroic medieval fantasy. Definitely a must-read for anyone who loved Brian Jacques' work or Watership Down growing up, but also with definite appeal for those who have never ventured into the realms of rodent chivalry.

It creates a grand world that is always just close enough to the brink of collapse that the stakes feel real, the heroism truly epic, and the relationships genuine. The design is the die for and the stories are deeply engaging.

Andrea Monsma
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Another awesome addition to the series. At first I wasn't that interested in reading a prequel, I just wanted to get more of the original story line, but as I read I found myself really engaged in the new plot and invested in the characters. I enjoyed the lore and was pleasantly surprised by the bookends of the story that connected back to the original plot and further developed the main characters.
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Note: There are more than one David Petersen on GR's database. For catch-all profile, see here (dissambiguated via 7 spaces).

David Petersen was born in 1977. His artistic career soon followed. A steady diet of cartoons, comics, and tree climbing fed his imagination and is what still inspires his work today. David won the 2007 Russ Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer. In 2008, David won the

Other books in the series

Mouse Guard (4 books)
  • Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 (Mouse Guard, #1)
  • Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 (Mouse Guard, #2)
  • Mouse Guard: Spring 1153