By Leroy Douresseaux
July 10, 2011 - 14:08
|Rocketeer Adventures #2 cover by Alex Ross|
The Rocketeer is a superhero created by the late writer/illustrator Dave Stevens that first appeared in 1982. The character’s style and the mode of his adventures are also an homage to the Saturday matinee heroes of the 1930s and 1940s and to adventure movie serials like Republic Picture’s King of the Rocket Men. The Rocketeer’s exploits are mainly set in Los Angeles in and after the year 1938. The Rocketeer made it onto the big screen in a 1991 film from Walt Disney Pictures.
The Rocketeer is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious jet pack that allows him to fly. Secord’s girlfriend, Bettie Page, is based upon real life, 1950s pin-up and fetish model, Bettie Page.
The Rocketeer returns in Rocketeer Adventures, a new anthology series from IDW Publishing. Edited by Scott Dunbier, Rocketeer Adventures features Rocketeer short stories (about 7 or 8 pages in length) from some of the premiere creators in comic books. Rocketeer Adventures #2 has stories by the teams of Mark Waid and Chris Weston and also Lowell Francis and Gene Ha, with a short story by Darwyn Cooke and a centerfold pin-up from artist Geof Darrow and colorist supreme, Dave Stewart.
THE LOWDOWN: First, I must say that, at a cover price of $3.99, Rocketeer Adventures is a bargain. The art is exceptional, even if most of the stories are, for the most part, mere trifles, though entertaining. Anytime we get to see Dave Stewart’s magnificent comic book coloring, we are in for a treat.
Mark Waid and Chris Weston’s “It Ain’t the Fall that Kills Ya…” features some gorgeous Dave Stevens-inspired art from the talented Weston, a master of composition and a superb draftsman. For Waid’s part, the story is either ironic or is simply unintentionally hypocritical. Lowell Francis and Gene Ha’s “TKO” is clever-lite, a play of mixing an aerial battle with a boxing match. Ha’s execution in the graphical storytelling of “TKO” is skillful. As for the Geof Darrow pin-up – YAWN – been there, seen that.
Leave it to genius Darwyn Cooke to offer this issue’s best story, a slam-bang piece, entitled “Betty Saves the Day.” It is only seven-pages long, but it reads like a great stand-alone, 22-page comic book. An Eisner Award nomination (at least) for best short story is a must.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans who want the Rocketeer must have Rocketeer Adventures.