In my most recent Comics Portal column, I talked about how I’m giving new characters and situations a chance these days. I did mention that I still enjoy classic heroes as well, and one of my faves is the Rocketeer, now published by IDW. This week, the first issue of Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom flew into local comics shops, which deserves my attention.
Here’s the book’s description: “Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rocketeer with an all-new full-length series! Dave Stevens created the Rocketeer in 1982, and it has proven to be a uniquely enduring character. Now Cliff Secord and the Rocketeer take to the skies once again as Mark Waid and Chris Samnee spin a yarn in the best tradition of Dave Stevens, bringing us a tale of great adventure, suspense and humor! A ship docks in Los Angeles harbor from a far-off and exotic locale—with a big, mysterious… and living… cargo! Danger and mayhem abound as our hero leaps into the fray! Plus, we introduce a lovely new character who will be vying against Betty for Cliff’s affections!”
This title follows up on the two mini-series that featured several “name” writers and artists, and they only whetted my appetite for a more regular book. I’m so happy that it’s finally here! Also, the design of his costume and Cliff’s personality continue to appeal to me. Sometimes retro works, and that’s so very true of the Rocketeer.
I’m a big fan of Mr. Waid, who can spin a yarn in any time period about pretty much any hero with the best of them, in my opinion. (He’s also writing Steed and Mrs. Peel for BOOM! Studios these days, not to mention taking over the Hulk’s title for Marvel NOW! He does get around!)
I like Sally, the new female pilot, who has to defend herself against Mr. Feeney, who wants to inspect more than the plane she’s flying! There’s a wonderful sequence with Cliff in his Rocketeer outfit talking with Sally, which leads to a very interesting revelation.
Also, this book is true to its time period, and that’s not always easy to accomplish. Hats off to the creators for that!
It’s derring-do at its very best, with Waid crafting a fast-moving, character-driven story that has Cliff and his one true love bouncing off other folks just like the best creators do in classic comics. Samnee’s art is clear and dynamic, matching the script, so I was yanked in immediately and not released until the very last panel. I think Mr. Stevens would continue to be proud. Now, where’s that next issue?
This Week’s New 52 Reviews: Here are some quick thoughts on the other New 52 DC books out this week. Batman: The Dark Knight #12 has Scarecrow working on Batman’s psyche. I also really enjoyed The Flash #12, in which the Scarlet Speedster takes on Glider. Teen Titans has Wonder Girl facing Red Robin and Superboy. Next, I enjoyed Superman, as Dan Jurgens wraps up his latest run with the Man of Steel. The Savage Hawkman keeps impressing me, even though Mr. Liefeld will be leaving soon. Justice League Dark is going great guns with Jeff Lemire doing the writing. Also, Green Lantern: New Guardians #12 may show us the end of the team. The Fury Of Firestorm continues to be a strong read. All-Star Western has Jonah Hex fighting the baddies with Tallulah. Voodoo #12 features what’s called “the final battle.” I, Vampire has Stormwatch making a guest appearance. Fun reads all!
Other books worth picking up this week included Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1 from DC; Brilliant #4, Supercrooks #4 and Venom #23 from Marvel; Star Trek Ongoing #12 from IDW; Invincible #94 and Super Dinosaur #13 from Image; Kevin Smith Bionic Man #12 from Dynamite; as well as the excellent Hero Worship #2 from Avatar!