THE ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #1
What did the
Art by Chris Samnee
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Shawn Lee
Cover by Chris Samnee & Dave Stevens
Size: 0 pages
I’ve always loved Dave Steven’s The Rocketeer and have to be one of the minority who actually enjoys the Walt Disney movie version (which I thought stayed fairly faithful to the spirit and styling of the comic). As I’ve regarded the original couple of stories so highly I’ve deliberately avoided more recent adventures even though they’re by some pretty big hitters in the comics industry. But with the current award-winning Daredevil team Chris Samnee drawing and Mark Waid on this I just couldn’t avoid picking it up… and, boy, I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
It’s 1940 and Cliff Secord is still working as a pilot and, as jet-packed Rocketeer, fighting crime. He’s still got a stormy relationship with Betty, his pin-up model girlfriend and kept on the straight-and-narrow by Peevy, his mechanic and mentor. Into this mix comes a new character, Sally, a young woman who wants to be a pilot and adores Cliff, much to the jealous annoyance of Betty. Plus, on its way to LA is a ship bearing a “cargo of doom” (what a great, pulpy title!), something monstrous that bites the hands off one of the ship’s villainous crew.
The issue essentially re-establishes the pulp 30s/40s world of the Rocketeer for new readers, quickly presents the main characters and, ominously, presents an unseen menace that Cliff’s going to have to face in the next couple of issues. Waid’s storytelling doesn’t miss a beat: it has that serial movie feel without any “modern” angsty undertones. It’s just plainly adventure. Everything you want from a Rocketeer comic is here. The best of it is Samnee’s art which is both faithful to Dave Steven’s original work as well as being distinctively his own. It’s a great comic to look at if, like me, you love Samnee’s retro-syled art. (Got to say that Jordie Bellaire’s colouring makes Samnee’s drawing look gorgeous; it’s certainly as good as Bettie Brietweiser has done with Samnee’s art). Just take a look at the expression on Sally’s face the last panel of page 6 to see how skilled Samnee is as an artist.
With rumours of a new Rocketeer movie in pre-production, this is definitely a comic you want to pick up this week.
Art: 5 - Excellent