Missile Mouse may be a secret agent for the Galactic Security Agency, but that doesn’t mean that he always follows the rules, which can cause problems. When yet another job goes wrong and he finds himself in trouble with the GSA again, he’s stuck with a new partner and a dangerous mission to save the entire universe from the Rogue Imperium of Planets. But is Missile Mouse’s cocky attitude going to land him in hot water like always or can he find the strength to do the job that needs doing?
Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher
Age Rating: 8-12
Scholastic Graphix, January 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-11714-2 (hbk); ISBN: 978-0-545-11715-9 (pbk)
176 pages, $21.99 (hbk)/$10.99 (pbk)
Parker’s science fiction/adventure story is made up of all the elements that science fiction fans will recognize from television and movies like Star Trek, Babylon 5, Star Wars, and Firefly–and that is exactly what makes it so strong. Parker obviously knows his science fiction, so when he takes those iconic elements and combines them in his story, he comes up with something that both harkens back to science fiction classics and is also fresh and new. The only weak spot is that the obvious betrayal is a little too obvious, but I’m saying that as an adult who has read and watched a lot of science fiction. Children reading this might not see the betrayal coming, but even if they do, that obviousness is only a minor quibble in an otherwise fine story.
Much of what makes the story work is Missile Mouse himself. If you’re going to hang an entire story on a set of small rodent shoulders, they’d better be up to the job. At first Parker presents Missile Mouse as sure of himself and above rules and order, but by the end of the story we have seen that there is more to Missile Mouse than he reveals to others. He is equal parts James T. Kirk and Han Solo–tough talking and brash, but able to do what needs to be done, even if that means sacrificing himself to do it. His final words in this first volume are "I’m doing the best I can, Dad," a quiet and fitting end to a story of "a mouse who matters."
Parker’s art always stays one step away from cutesy. Missile Mouse is not Hello Kitty. He’s a member of the Galactic Security Agency and Parker is careful to draw him that way, furrowed brow and strong jaw. Though the character designs occasionally slip to the expected–many of the bad guys are shark-like aliens–most of the creatures are non-descript aliens in wide variety of colors. The planetary landscapes are likewise unique, with one having a green sky and purple mountains. The lack of cartoonishness, combined with the adventurous storyline, makes this a top-notch choice for older elementary and middle school age readers. Missile Mouse’s first full-length adventure is not to be missed and hopefully many more tales will follow!
This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Scholastic Graphix.