The Black Axe is the third volume of David Petersen's wonderful Mouse Guard series. Petersen both writes and illustrates the books.
The format is somewhat unusual for comic books in that it is a square 8"x8" format. The artwork inside is exquisitely detailed and the coloring subtle. It is an absolute work of art.
The story of The Black Axe is a prequel to the first two volumes and I would recommend starting at the beginning with The Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 otherwise the introduction will likely prove a little confusing.
However the core story of the book absolutely stands on it's own and I had little trouble finding my bearings and enjoying the events both heroic and at times sad.
In this world mice are intelligent and tool users, as are weasels (and similar animals). The Mouse Guard exist to defend the kingdom which the mice have carved out for themselves.
The story focuses on a small number of characters but each of them is skillfully drawn both in words and pictures. I found myself drawn deeply into this world which seemed to have a depth and life far beyond the elements I was seeing.
I know graphic novels are not to everyone's taste, but I really can't praise this highly enough. It has a depth beyond the average anthropomorphic animal story and in many ways feels more like a historical adventure than a fantasy one.
Buy the first two volumes and then get this one.