FORTY-EIGHT PAGES! That’s right, this book has forty-eight pages of story. Holy cow! The book sure takes all the time (and pages) it needs to build towards next issue’s finale- but am I really ready for it to end? Does this book really need to end, or can it just keep going forever? Things cant always stay the same, and this book has changed and grown a lot over five volumes, and in the pages of this issue SO MANY FREAKING THINGS change… I don’t know if I will be able to cover them all- or if it will get too “spoiler-y” if I talk about too many of them. But here we go-
This arc built towards last issues massive war between the Templar/Karic’s supporters and King Icarus’ army. The fight was bloody, and many lives were lost, but Karic was able to reach the mad king’s chamber- which is where last issue left off. This issue jumps right into the thick of it- Karic and Icarus are fighting off bats, who were once Icarus’ supporters, but seemed to have lost interest in taking care of anyone but themselves. I really thought the moment that Alexis’ body is pointed out to Icarus by Karic- Icarus’ mask of anger and crazy slips a little, and we see the frail soul beneath, was a really poignant moment. But this little bit of softness from Icarus is quickly washed away in a sea of crazy.
Icarus then reveals to Karic that Kobalt (the great corpse of a bat that hangs in Icarus’ chambers) is actually his brother and that Icarus the rat-king, is in truth a bat. Stripped of his wings, he does quite resemble a rat, but once he disrobes, and the tattered remnants of his wings are exposed, you see just how far that Icarus had fallen. This shouldn’t have been such a surprise to me when reading this- I am quite familiar with the story of Icarus, who flew too high to the sun on wax wings that melted and he fell to his death, but I didn’t put those pieces together until now.
The battle rages on outside between mice and snakes and rats and cats and bats (which seems like fodder for a round of “and I don’t know why she swallowed the fly…” but it isn’t.) though, little by little, things are moving in favor of the Templar mice. Icarus is carried off by the bats, and Karic seems to try and come to his aid- though for what reason, I cannot fathom, and he falls from Icarus’ tower (again, playing on the themes from the Flight of Icarus). Karic is badly wounded, and in a sort of fugue state he ends up communing with the spirit realm, as he has done in the past.
I liked how this book incorporated so many big splash pages, and how the artwork really flowed around those big scenes with smaller, detailed moments. The people slowly come to Karic’s side, and the rats and bats are driven out, but an even bigger and more final threat emerges. All the while, Karic is being tormented and tested from within his spirit realm. The story escalates from there, with Karic’s torture becoming more violent and visceral, and his body being racked with pain, and the people around him not able to help him.
The final pages of this issue are all big, sweeping splash pages- with Karic’s time in the spirit world building to a massive climax, AND the people back in the city of Dealrach trying to broker passage to the “light realm beyond”. I was definitely not sure what to expect from the end of this issue, and what I got was way beyond what I expected. I love the art and storytelling from the series, and I am very sorry to see it end, but I do hope that it isn’t the end of the Mice Templar forever- just for a while. My main concern is that even with another forty-eight page book, I don’t know if this story can be wrapped up neatly. It seems to be a really big task, to bring this story to a close, and in only one more installment.
I liked reading this book, and seeing just how many huge pages and sweeping scenes that were packed into this forty-eight page monster- and I think that this series has a lot to offer a wide audience, and if you haven’t read this book, there are four more volumes out there ready and waiting for you to dive into- and who knows, maybe by the time you get caught up with that nice stack of back issues for Mice Templar, they may end up coming back to write more;
A boy can dream, anyway…