Sgt. Mike Battle: The Greatest American British Hero #16
Pier C Comics
Mike Battle, chisel jawlined, nazi hating, commie hating, taliban hating, hero of the American people. If there’s someone even looking at America in the wrong way – he’s there, stomping all over them.
It’s all ridiculously overblown, but deliberately so, with Pierce getting more and more natural with his setting, characters and dialogue. The improvement across the 16 issues has been a pleasure to see and Pierce has really settled into his groove by now, and he’s getting rather good at going as completely over the top as possible, filling the page with stupid ideas, filling the panels with as much scenery chewing dialogue as possible and doing it with a fair amount of style in the bargain.
With the whole 20th Century to choose from, Pierce picks and choices where he wants to set Battle’s battles, and this time we’re in England’s darkest hour – as the four stories in issue 16 are set in 1940 and tackle events from Dunkirk to The Battle Of Britain. With Sgt. Mike Battle leading the line. Of course.
What’s that? You never realised all the heroics of the Battle Of Britain were down to one impossibly square jawed yank? That would be because Churchill hushed it up of course. It’s all stupidly good fun, and if you judge this sort of comic by how many smiles and giggles you get, then Sgt Mike Battle really succeeds.
Pierce’s artwork has settled down into a rather nice simplified open line style. I wouldn’t go as far as throwing ligne claire at it, but it’s got something interesting in there, some cracking design elements and layouts. And although sometimes I think Pierce’s ideas outstrip his abilities, it doesn’t happen enough to spoil the fun.
One thing I have realised with Battle is that it’s best enjoyed in small chunks. Read the comics in one go and there’s a real risk that you’ll find yourself tiring slightly of the repeated ideas, and there’s only so many times you can read the dialogue spouting from the characters before it starts to seem a little repititious. But that’s why each Battle has at least 3 stories. Read them one at a time, take a break in between and it’s a far better experience. Take a break between each tale and suddenly the repitition starts to work in your favour, insstead of tiresome, it just becomes a gag that builds and builds on what’s gone before.
Sgt Mike Battle 16 is available from Pierce’s website. Future adventures include Star Spangled Wars (not so long ago, in a country far, far away), the Indiana Jones style Sgt. Mike Battle and the Nazi Flying-Saucers from Antarctica, and the Death of Sgt Mike Battle. Sounds like Pierce has a fair few ideas up his sleeve that could be very good indeed.