By Mike Pearce
Pier C Comics
By now, with a couple of collections and several single issues covered and reviewed, the Sgt Mike Battle formula should be well established in your minds. For those of you coming to this afresh, Graham Pearce’s bombastic, overblown, ridiculous title character becomes whatever is needed of him for the times… so we’ve had Nazi-Smasher, Commie-Smasher, Iraqi-Smasher, Kamikazi-Smasher … in fact the Sarge will take odds with any regime or ideology that puts his beloved America under threat, real or imagined.
So once more, here he is, and it’s somewhat business as usual, with the square jaw just as square, the unquestioning patriotism just as unquestioning…. except this time, as you may expect from the cover and the title, this is Graham Pearce’s grand Star Wars parody issue taking place “not too long ago, in a country far, far away“.
Let me give you the blurb:
The latest explosive issue of Sgt. Mike Battle: The Greatest American Hero! is on sale now and features the ultimate story of good versus evil!
“Star-Spangled Wars” sees Sgt Mike Battle meet a young farmboy, an elderly warrior and an arrogant smuggler who are on a quest to rescue a beautiful princess from an evil empire!
Secrecy and misdirection have surrounded the project since it was announced. To protect your enjoyment of this issue, all copies will be bagged to stop you accidentally learning too much about the story which is set not so long ago in a country far, far away!”
Right. So, it’s Sgt Mike Battle doing Star Wars. Which is a lot of fun in itself, as Pearce is obviously a huge fan, and works in reference after reference after reference and does it very well indeed.
But more importantly it’s also Graham Pearce delivering his most accomplished, most polished work yet, creating something that’s a really solid parody, and does a lot more than simply parody Star Wars. This issue carefully balances intelligent satire and knowing comedy all the way through a very tightly plotted 40 pages.
But there’s a problem. There’s a huge twist in here, a huge twist, and it’s not only beautifully done, not only absolutely central to what makes this such an interesting issue, but most importantly, it’s right there on page 3.
And that makes it practically impossible to tell you much more about this issue than the blurb above does without spoiling the whole thing, without ruining the work Pearce has put into this, and giving away the thing that makes it all work so very well.
It’s also impossible to show you any of the art in the issue either, so you’ll just have to make do with me telling you that it’s similarly improved, with Pearce’s cartooning tight, readable, and full of consistently solid storytelling. Instead of interior art here’s a promo piece Pearce has on his website:
You get the idea though?
Sgt. Mike Battle issue 17 is available from Pearce through the Sgt. Mike Battle website, and at selected comic shops.