The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1
Writer – Mark Waid
Pencils – Chris Samnee
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Rocketeer IDW brings out a new story featuring Cliff and friends against a new and mysterious enemy. The story follows Cliff having a bad day including Betty (Jenny in the film) yelling at him, losing his pilot’s license, and saving Peevy’s niece Sally. While all this goes on a ship docks inLos Angeles with some mysterious cargo, presumably of doom. The sailors work for a man known only as “Master” who finds it very interesting that a member of the crew starts raving about the Rocketeer.
The writing is pretty good. This whole issue is setup for the adventure and feels like meeting up with old friends. The only complaint about the characters is that Betty seems a little bitchier than she should be considering this story takes place in 1940 and she has been with Cliff for awhile at this point and you’d think she would be used to Cliff’s quirks. The other part of the writing that feels a little weak is the mysterious bad guy called Master. Every time he is referenced I keep thinking of the character from Doctor Who which is distracting. Finally, the introduction of Sally feels really clunky with Peevy reminding Cliff that Sally is his niece when it appears that she has been hanging around with the two of them and possibly living with the members of the air circus.
While the writing is mostly strong, the artwork has some big flaws. The biggest flaw is character faces. They look all mashed up or messy and it really clashes against the well drawn bodies. While this is fine for the sailors or Peevy, but it is distracting when Cliff, Betty, or Sally have facial design problems when they are meant to be attractive. The backgrounds are mostly well done, but bland due to very plain coloring. Nothing really stands out in the background. However, this may be due to this issue taking place on a ship and a middle of nowhere airfield. The best part of the artwork is the cover that shows off action that does not appear in this issue, but still looks exciting and will draw in readers.
The Rocketeer is a franchise I was introduced to by the great 1991 movie. Due to this I cannot compare this new rendition to the classic comic, but as far as I can tell this does feel like a respectful tribute to this series. The comic takes time to introduce the team to those who have not read the comic or watched the movie in awhile. However, this does lead to some clunky expository dialogue. While the bad facial designs can be annoying they do not distract from the enjoyment of this issue. While I would have liked to see more action, Cargo of Doom #1 has a nice build up for what looks to be a very interesting chapter in the life of Cliff Secord.
3 out of 5, eagerly awaiting the continuation of Cliff’s adventures