Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher
written by Jake Parker
The cover of Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher may lead you to think this is a cute mouse comic just for kids. It’s not. While it’s certainly a book aimed at young readers, it’s also a sci-fi action/adventure story with deep themes and complicated plotlines. It’s not your average, run-of-the-mill cutesy kids book with bad jokes and visual puns.
In fact, jokes and puns are few and far between (oh, they’re there, but they’re not the focus). The focus instead is on the heart of the story, which involves the titular hero’s quest to live up to his father’s dreams and aspirations for him (“You are a mouse who matters. Don’t ever forget that.”) while protecting the universe. In that regard, Missile Mouse is a secret agent for the Galactic Security Agency who, after failing to protect an important star map from falling into the wrong hands, is rebuked by his boss, saddled with a partner, and charged with stopping RIP (the Rogue Imperium of Planets, natch) from unleashing the Star Crusher, which will destroy the universe. RIP has kidnapped the one scientist who knows of this 1,000-year-old device and how to implement it.
Creator Jake Parker is an animator, so his book-length story has the visual appeal of a long animated special, as well as the look of one. It’s quite nice. It gives the story a flow and an orientation that are easy to follow and engaging to read.
The story is dark at times (one scene in particular, in which a group of bad guys are capitally and gruesomely punished by the lead villain, is perhaps a little too much for the very youngest readers), but it’s well-suited for the suggested age range of 8–12 years old, as well as for older kids and even adults interested in the book. Nothing in the story is childish, and it in fact has a broad appeal, and the action is fast and furious enough to hold most readers’ rapt while enjoying it.