Missile Mouse: Rescue on Tankium 3
written by Jake Parker
The second installment of Jake Parker’s Missile Mouse series, Rescue on TANKIUM3, is an action-packed graphic novel adventure with surprisingly serious undertones. With its emphasis on agents, robots, and alien worlds, this is a title that will appeal particularly to elementary-age boys.
This volume follows Missile Mouse as he tries to take down King Bognarsh, who is using mind control devices to enslave an entire race of beings. Missile Mouse reluctantly teams up with a robot agent known as Robot 44; together they rescue and befriend one of the ex-slaves, Lasukus, who introduces them to his peace-loving tribe. Throughout the volume, the three are constantly thwarted by a particularly sinister side-villain, the Blazing Bat.
Missile Mouse is a character highly suitable as a role model for younger readers. He is calm and collected, but he is still willing to sacrifice his safety for the sake of helping those who cannot help themselves. Missile Mouse battles fairly heavy stakes in this volume, including the mind control of an entire species. In the face of these stakes, Missile Mouse remains brave and true, fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves.
Amazingly, Missile Mouse is also a character who admits his mistakes, a trait that is not often found in adventure stories for children. This particular trait comes into play in Missile Mouse’s friendship with Robot 44, as originally Missile Mouse does not trust robot agents. As his experiences with the robots change his thinking, we come to question whether or not robots can be worth as much as a mouse, or as any living creature.
The reading level in Missile Mouse is geared a bit more toward the older-elementary range. Likewise, the action and subject matter of this volume may be a bit too intense for younger children. However, this volume provides a great opportunity to expose kids to slightly more difficult vocabulary while they are immersed in the colorful art and heart-stopping action of the work. Children will most likely understand more difficult words from their context, and they will be having so much fun that they will not even notice that they are learning.
The art in Missile Mouse is colorful and suitable for a story that is this action-filled. The colors are vivid during action sequences, and the characters (including the robots) are drawn to reflect the emotion of the situation. Children of all ages will be drawn to the familiarity of a mouse as a main character, while older children will appreciate the fact that Missile Mouse is a typical but likable action character.
Missile Mouse is highly recommended for children 8 and up.