Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Dave Bullock
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
It seems that every once in awhile, IDW puts out a new take or story in The Rocketeer world. Since the tragic and much too early passing of Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens, the original run has lived in slight legend; and when IDW did their first anthology series, some of the best talent in comics came out to contribute. Even with the following series, some of comics best always seem to turn up on the books. This series is no different, and seeing Dave Bullock’s name on the art made this a must buy for me.
Much like most first issues, this set the scene for what’s to come in the future, and establishes the characters. As someone not familiar with the source material or the film, this put me right in the world, and filled the gaps I still had after reading some of the anthology stories. After the death of the original Rocketeer, we are introduced to an all-star soldier in Cliff Secord. Going forward, he will be the Rocketeer, and he will be tracking down an axis plan of domination, and, most notably, a German cape named “The Spook”. I love the concept of this story. It’s a simple, WW2 style story, much in the vain of Captain America White. Cliff, while being a good ol boy style character, is compelling to read and has moments of comedy to separate him from others of the same archetype. Guggenheim puts him in great situations, from saving an RAF pilot to humorously having to constantly remind himself of his girl back home, that draws us into the story. The only downside comes in the very brief introduction to Betty, Cliff’s girl back home who is on the way to enlisting to the female troop in the army. While I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading about her character in future issues, this was just way too little info to really grab hold of that story thread. I didn’t feel too overloaded with information from everything else in the issue, so I definitely was left a little wanting here.
Even if you haven’t had much interest in The Rocketeer in the past, you need to check out this Dave Bullock artwork. It’s perfect for the throwback World War 2 style, in a way that I can only really relate to somewhat like Darwyn Cooke. The cartooning and storytelling is spot on in every part of this issue. The facial work tells you everything you need, even without a script, and the action is well paced and appropriately highlighted. The women he draws are strikingly beautiful, in a very classical sense, a la almost Bruce Timm style. The only TINY nit pick is that his portrayal of Goering is noticeably not accurate. The Goering we have here is a young, svelte guy; and Goering is historically a fairly large man. While I think the coloring choices from Ronda Pattison are solid, the overall production of it seems to take away slightly from the line work. It’s not necessarily bad, and the craft and artistic intention is clearly there, it just seemed slightly unfinished. Since I read this digitally, I’ll have to seek out a paper version to see how the colors translated there.
Even with the small points of contention, I really enjoyed this issue, and would strongly encourage you to pick it up. Even if not a Rocketeer fan, this is just like a great Cap story, or, a great war story, with this first issue.
4.5 Pin Ups out of 5