The Mice Templar Volume III: A Midwinter Night’s Dream 8 (March 2012)

The Mice Templar Volume III: A Midwinter Night's Dream #8

It's one heck of a finish for the volume. Oeming's back for some of the dream sequences, with Glass finally getting around to explaining what's been going on with Karic. Sort of.

The issue's Karic's battle with the evil druids on a psychic plane. Glass doesn't over explain and he doesn't have to–Templar's sort of biblical in terms of the reality of the mysticism. It's just there and Glass doesn't give the reader any chance at misinterpreting. Here, he doesn't have time to convince, he's got to get Karic through.

It works beautifully because Glass is resolving the unsure young Karic with the now legendary warrior Karic, which has been one of the series's big transitions through the volumes. Glass handles it subtly too.

Some of the issue's events are predictable and it's sort of the ultimate in bridging issues (and series), but it's successful.

Templar's an epic poem now.

A 

CREDITS

The Dream of a Midwinter’s Night; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artists, Victor Santos and Michael Avon Oeming; colorists, Veronica Gandini, Serena Guerra and Oeming; letterer, James H. Glass; editor, Judy Glass; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar Volume III: A Midwinter Night’s Dream 1 (December 2010)

The Mice Templar Volume III: A Midwinter Night's Dream #1

Besides the cliffhanger, which is too manipulative, A Midwinter Night’s Dream is off to a great start. Glass has a lot of territory to cover just getting the story going–there’s lengthy expository narration at the beginning, along with some fantastic art by Santos. For the flashbacks, Santos only gets a few panels to make his point and he does every time.

The issue isn’t just well-executed flashbacks, of course. Glass does some character drama, some more action and a little romance–not to mention another creepy full page spread of the lead character having to negotiate with the bugs to survive during the day time. Santos isn’t a creepy artist so the bugs aren’t gross, but they’re still disturbing. Maybe just because Glass still hasn’t shown them angry yet.

Glass uses the supporting cast to both build the mythology and move the action.

It’s another excellent Templar comic.

B+ 

CREDITS

Precious Burden; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artists, Michael Avon Oeming and Victor Santos; colorist, Veronica Gandini; letterer, James H. Glass; editor, Judy Glass; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar Volume III: A Midwinter Night’s Dream 0 (November 2010)

The Mice Templar Volume III: A Midwinter Night's Dream #0

As a zero issue introducing the new Mice Templar volume, this issue isn’t effective. There are some really effective things about it–Bryan J.L. Glass and Victor Santos retell the finale of the previous volume from a different perspective and Santos gets in some wonderful pages–but the comic itself is too slight.

Running about eight pages, it might just be too short to be anything but slight, but Glass takes an odd approach. One of the knights saving the citizenry from the tyrant king is questioning his orders and the idea of a savior and so on. If it were a full issue–and the protagonist were better defined–it might work as a rumination on events. But, like I said, it’s too short.

The Santos art makes it easily worth a look and Glass’s script coasts on built-up good will towards the series. It’s hard not to be a little disappointed though.

B- 

CREDITS

Faith in Miracles; writers, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Victor Santos; colorist, Veronica Gandini; letterer, James H. Glass; editor, Judy Glass; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar Volume II: Destiny 1 (July 2009)

The Mice Templar Volume II: Destiny #1

As this issue begins, with some flashbacks to the big battle ending the Templar, Glass also establishes the relationship between Cassuis and Karic. It’s a dysfunctional mentor and student relationship. Karic thinks Cassius hates him and Cassius hates Karic.

There are some more flashbacks, with Cassius remembering, and Glass vaguely hinting the arc’s direction. But the cliffhanger does not suggest it’ll be going in those directions anytime soon; Glass is going on a more introspective journey. Throughout the course of the issue, the relationship between Cassius and Karic changes almost entirely. Glass does a whole bunch of character work on Cassius, usually very subtlety through the narrated flashbacks.

Karic’s character development is a little different, probably because Glass has given him not just the bad guys of the issue as adversaries, but also his mentor.

Santos’s art is gory and good.

The excellent finale makes up for the exposition drags.

B 

CREDITS

The Haunted Wood; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artists, Michael Avon Oeming and Victor Santos; colorist, Veronica Gandini; letterer, James H. Glass; editor, Judy Glass; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar Volume II: Destiny 0 (April 2009)

The Mice Templar Volume II: Destiny #0

It’s a short but not sweet zero issue for the second Mice Templar series, which picks up almost immediately where the first series ended.

Writer Bryan J.L. Glass has two stories going–one has the fallout from the actions of the good priest (not exactly priest, more like elder–but still called a priest) and then one with Karic, the series’s protagonist, on the run with his new protector, Cassius.

Glass doesn’t have a lot of room to do anything and he doesn’t try. He lets new artist Victor Santos show his chops in both talking mouse heads and then an action sequence too. It’s almost more interesting as a transitory piece than anything else. There’s nothing necessary in the issue, but it’s impossible to discount it too.

The look into the activities of the elders is reason enough not to disregard it. It’s more unexpectedly deep than the stuff with Karic.

B 

CREDITS

The Sacrifice; writers, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Victor Santos; colorist, Veronica Gandini; letterer, James H. Glass; editor, Judy Glass; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar 6 (October 2008)

The Mice Templar #6

What an issue. In hindsight, it should have seemed unlikely Glass was going to be able to wrap anything up while setting up for the next Mice Templar series.

He does not get much wrapped up. He does, however, introduce the new status quo for the series–Karic under the mentorship of Cassius, who does not like the lad one bit. And this relationship is where Glass is setting up the series for some interesting problems–Cassius doesn’t believe Karic is Neo, but the reader knows Karic is Neo thanks to the visions.

There hasn’t really been any setup for hallucinations or visions, meaning Karic seeing the great owl god has to be taken at face value. Maybe. It’s hard to say, but it certainly seems likely.

Glass also takes time to work with the coming villains in the capital. Those scenes are good.

The issue’s just too busy without much impact.

B 

CREDITS

The Prophecy, Part Six: The Symbol; writers, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Oeming; colorist, Wil Quintana; letterer, James H. Glass; editors, Judy Glass and Will Swyer; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar 5 (July 2008)

The Mice Templar #5

Once again, Glass gets a whole lot done in one issue.

He opens with the captives, who have their own flashback–which relates to the story of Karic and Pilot (sort of). The captives get some closure, then it’s off to resolve the cliffhanger with Pilot under attack from a fellow Templar.

Here’s where the issue gets confusing. While Karic stands in for the reader when discovering things, there’s so much new information–new information he can’t understand–Glass often leaves the reader spinning around to try to make sense of things. Karic doesn’t spin because he’s just a kid, which actually makes the reader spin more as Karic’s somewhat to read.

But then Glass even has time to go back to the captives and introduce the capital city and its political intrigue into the issue. He even textures it with regular folk.

Finally, the doozy cliffhanger wallops both Karic and the reader.

A 

CREDITS

The Prophecy, Part Five: Truth Behind the Lies; writers, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Oeming; colorist, Wil Quintana; letterer, James H. Glass; editors, Judy Glass and Will Swyer; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar 4 (April 2008)

The Mice Templar #4

Trippy might be the best word for this issue. There’s a lengthy hallucination, mystical sequence as the finale, but Glass is constantly spinning the reader around before it. Actually, having a dream sequence is the most straightforward thing he does this issue. Everything before is much less so.

First, there’s the resolution to the previous issue’s cliffhanger. Maybe it was a test for young Karic, maybe it wasn’t. Then there’s Pilot (Obi-Wan or just Don Juan) taking him on practically a vision quest, or at least a vision hike, and it’s exceptionally confusing. Set to all the lectures and descriptions is Oeming’s fantastic nature art.

Then comes the final twist (before the actual dream sequence) and it’s set during a fight scene between Pilot and another Templar, where maybe Pilot’s not who he’s says.

Somehow Glass doesn’t just get away with it all, it gets better as it progresses.

B+ 

CREDITS

The Prophecy, Part Four: The Readers of the Wheat; writers, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Oeming; colorist, Wil Quintana; letterer, James H. Glass; editors, Judy Glass and Will Swyer; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar 3 (January 2008)

The Mice Templar #3

This issue is a little busy. First, Glass showcases a rat battalion as they return home. They’re hunting. Nasty guys, these rats. It turns out some of the cast from the first issue has survived and are now prisoners of the rats, so Glass turns the focus to them for a while.

Of course, he had a cliffhanger to resolve with Karic and Pilot–Luke and Obi-Wan–and he gets to it nearly halfway through. They have a lengthy resolution to their problems and it’s a rather neat one but then Glass proceeds to work towards another cliffhanger.

If I’m counting right, the issue has one cliffhanger resolution, one soft cliffhanger for the prisoners and another hard cliffhanger for Karic. It’s just too much, even if Glass does pace it all beautifully. The emphasis on revelation and action means not enough character development.

Still, Glass and Oeming have momentum.

B 

CREDITS

The Prophecy, Part Three: Black Aniaus; writers, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Oeming; colorist, Wil Quintana; letterer, James H. Glass; editors, Judy Glass and Will Swyer; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar 2 (November 2007)

The Mice Templar #2

There’s a lot of information in this issue. There’s a recap of the last issue and there’s a big history lesson of the Mice Templar world. That history lesson is rather confusing. Glass brings in a lot of names and ideas–the Oeming art is really good for these sequences. But it’s still a long history lesson.

The comic now follows a young novice and his mentor. I can’t remember the names. They’re mice, obviously. Glass does a great job with the kid, who’s trying to deal with the death of his friends and family and the enslavement of his townspeople. The comic tracks the two of them on their journey. There’s a little about the new settings, but never too much

Glass and Oeming are clearly invested in Templar. The enthusiasm wouldn’t be enough but Glass has that strong character development and excellent plotting going too.

It’s impressive stuff.

B+ 

CREDITS

The Prophecy, Part Two: In the Beginning…; writers, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Oeming; colorists, Wil Quintana and Cris Peter; letterer, James H. Glass; editors, Judy Glass and Will Swyer; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mice Templar 1 (September 2007)

The Mice Templar #1

The Mice Templar is a heavy book. This first issue is double-sized, which is both good and bad. It’s good because Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass are able to get the whole story done, but it’s bad because it’s too much at once. Glass has time to introduce the cast–maybe not make them all familiar to the reader, just because there are so many–and make the reader enjoying spending time with the cast.

Then the rats arrive and the comic goes from something cute–it’s about medieval mice after all–with danger to something dangerous without cute. By the end of this first issue, the cute factor is gone. Glass and Oeming–especially Oeming during the battle scene–show themselves to be ruthless and violent.

It’s a kiddie title with nothing kiddie about it.

Glass does a great job texturing the setting with details; it’s a wrenching read for a first issue.

B 

CREDITS

The Prophecy, Part One: The Calling; writers, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Oeming; colorists, Wil Quintana and Cris Peter; letterer, James H. Glass; editors, Judy Glass and Will Swyer; publisher, Image Comics.

The Maze Agency 23 (August 1991)

275588

This issue’s incredibly confusing. Barr spends too long setting up the story–Gabe and Jennifer have to go to a biosphere to solve a murder but there’s already drama with the client. It’s Barr wasting pages for no reason.

Maybe he wanted to give the penciller, Franchesco Bufano, something to do. Otherwise, wasted pages. Especially since Barr starts the comic with a letter talking about the issue being an homage to Poe. Oh, sure, the homage part does come up–but very late in the story.

By that time, most of the damage is done. Bufano’s pencils are exaggerated, which is fine, but he gets lazy almost immediately. He also doesn’t draw the characters distinctly enough; even with different physical characteristics, it gets confusing in long shots.

Barr throws in too many love triangles and crushes among his poorly established suspects.

Sadly, the series ends with a particularly weak entry.

CREDITS

Crime in Eden; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, Franchesco Bufano; inker, Michael Avon Oeming; colorist, Michelle Basil; letterer, Vickie Williams; editor, David Campiti; publisher, Innovation.

The Maze Agency 20 (May 1991)

275585

John Calimee and Michael Avon Oeming bring something of a cartoon style to the characters. Not in a bad way–exaggerated expressions help the mystery aspect–but they don’t bring anything to the setting. The act doesn’t lift anything heavy and it definitely should have tried; Barr relies on it, in fact.

The issue takes place on a private island, with Gabe and Jennifer trying to figure out a twenty year-old murder and a modern one too. That deserted mansion setting needs something from the art; Barr clearly writes the issue with that expectation. But the artists don’t deliver.

The issue’s all right otherwise. Barr does have some decent moments in the mystery (just no characters ones) and it proves a fine diversion. The end, after a while, is unexpected.

Maze is suffering, however. Barr doesn’t have a character development arc anymore. He’s holding everything still and it shows.

CREDITS

The Problem of the Devil’s Chambers; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, John Calimee; inker, Michael Avon Oeming; colorist, Scott Rockwell; letterer, Vickie Williams; editor, David Campiti; publisher, Innovation Publishing.

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