Pick of the Week

June 22, 2011 – The Rocketeer Adventures #2

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.7
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.8%
Users who pulled this comic:
Story by Mark Waid, Darwyn Cooke & Lowell Francis
Art by Chris Weston, Darwyn Cooke, Geof Darrow & Gene Ha
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Chris Mowry & Darwyn Cooke
Cover by Alex Ross & Dave Stevens

Size: pages
Price: 3.99

Let’s just get this out of the way right now.

Holy cow, you will not find a better line up of creators in one book this week. Or possibly any week.

But more on that in a moment.

There’s something special about The Rocketeer, a character created by the late Dave Stevens. He is straight out of the old adventure serials of the 1930s and 40s and if you didn’t know any better you would probably think that that was when he was created. But no, he first appeared in comics in 1982 (and then on-screen in an excellent and underrated Disney movie in 1991). Stevens tapped into something timeless with The Rocketeer, and not just in The Rocketeer’s design, which is one of the best in all of comics, but the characters and the stories themselves constantly fool me into believing that The Rocketeer (AKA Cliff Secord) and his girlfriend Betty and his right hand man Peev have all been around for 70 years, not just 30.

When the first issue of the IDW’s new four issue Rocketeer anthology was announced I was interested, and when they unveiled the all-star team of creators who were going to work on it, I was excited. The first issue was fantastic. This issue, The Rocketeer Adventures #2, is even better.

The first two issues have followed the same format: three main stories and one or two pin-ups from all-star artists. Let’s break it down.

The first story is titled “It Ain’t The Fall That Kills Ya…” and is written by Mark Waid and drawn by Chris Weston with colors by Dave Stewart. Cliff is annoyed that his pin-up model girlfriend Betty is appearing mostly naked in a show called “Sally Rand’s Nude Ranch” (and that one of the creepy guys on set has clearly got his eye on her) that he decides he needs to start making some serious money so that Betty can stop taking such gigs. He decides that it’s time for The Rocketeer to be a star! But it’s too late! Inspired by this newfangled funny book character called “Superman”, rival publishers have dressed a guy up in a funny costume and have given him a name: Aeroman, The Flying Marvel! and have had him make appearances around town. Of course, Aeroman is just an actor in suit, and when someone starts shooting real bullets at him, The Rocketeer has to save the day and in doing so he accidentally makes Aeroman look like the real superhero. This story is tons of fun and is very funny. We talked recently about Mark Waid and how it feels like you can tell when he is really into a project and how much better it seems as a result? This is one of those stories.

As great as the first story is, the second is probably he highlight of the issue. Titled “Betty Saves The Day!” it is written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke with colors by Dave Stewart. This is pure Darwyn Cooke. Done in a style of the old serials that inspired The Rocketeer in the first place, in this story The Rocketeer gets shot in the chest and it’s up to his girlfriend Betty to throw on the helmet, tunic, and jet pack and get him safely to the hospital. She, of course, has no idea how to fly the equipment in addition to having to lug her bleeding boyfriend, and lots of comedic hijinks ensue. This story was all about two things: Darwyn Cooke’s almost unmatched story telling ability and tone. The tone is perfect: it’s fast paced and slightly goofy in the way that those old serials were. They had to tell an exciting story in a short amount of time and then leave you with a cliffhanger that put the main characters in a seemingly impossible to survive situation. In this case, the cliffhanger and the title card for “next week’s episode are laugh out loud funny. This story is also a showcase for Cooke’s amazing art and ability to tell a story. After finishing the issue I tried an experiment and read this story again while just looking at the art and ignoring the word balloons and it read just as well. You don’t need the words here, at all. (Although they are good words.) Everything is conveyed wonderfully through the art itself.

The third and final story is called “TKO” and is written by Lowell Francis and drawn by Gene Ha with colors by Dave Stewart and is probably the most action packed of all three. On the night of the big heavyweight fight, The Rocketeer engages in aerial combat with an unidentified man in his own flying contraption (instead of a jet pack, he has mini helicopter-like rotors keeping him in the air). As the fight is broadcast over the radio, we contrast the action narration of the action in the ring with the real action in the skies. The device is fun and does a great job of capturing the mood of the times (there is speculation during the broadcast that the disturbance being reported int he skies could be another Japanese attack). The real star here, though, is artist Gene Ha who I have loved ever since his days on Alan Moore’s Top 10 series. I never see his work anymore and it was a real treat to get an 8 page story from him.

The pin-up in this issue is by the legendary Geof Darrow and it is jaw dropping. It is a two page spread featuring The Rocketeer flying among a squadron of German fighter jets, blasting away with a Thompson submachine gun in each hand. The pin-up is done in Darrow’s signature hyper-detailed style–my god, man, the spent cartridges!–and is a breathtaking action piece told in one two page image. We certainly don’t get enough Geof Darrow work these days, but actually works in his favor. Because it’s a rarity, when his work does appear it is that much more powerful.

How has this Rocketeer mini-series attracting such insane talent? Is it a love for Dave Stevens and/or his creation? Is it respect for editor Scott Dunbier? Is it a little of both? Who knows? What I do know is that a more fun comic book you will not find on the stands and in the stores right now.

Conor Kilpatrick
I want a jet pack!


  1. You know it, Conor!

  2. Did not see that one coming

  3. @Heroville  – This book of course would be POTW. It’s almost unfair.

    @powerdad  – haha, I like the avatar. 🙂

  4. Must be nice to get comps or something.
    This book didn’t ship this week. At least not to our store (thanks, Diamond!)

  5. Gah! Store didn’t have it, gotta trade wait for it. Might just buy the thing anyways because I’d rather get it in one format then wait 4 agonizing months for each issue.

    My POTW was Batman: Gates of Gotham #2. A really great story being told by Snyder and Higgins even though the art wasn’t my cup of tea. 

  6. I was really looking forward to this, but it wasn’t on the release list for my comic shop or Midtown Comics. 

  7. WOW. very surprising. Not even picking this one up after a very “blah” first issue.

  8. Did conor read Ultimate Spider-man? I don’t think he did. Wow.

  9. @TheNextChampion  I don’t think you have to trade wait…should be out next week.

  10. I really was wanting to read this. Wish it had been out for me to grab.

  11. no offense on the pick because i havnt read it but seriously how could anything have beat Ultimate Spiderman 160 it may be one of the greatest single issue comics i’ve ever read. So FREAKING awesome!

  12. bought it for the cover alone. great fun and great pick 

  13. Fantastic issue!  It’s a bummer the comic didn’t reach every retailer…I’m grateful my local shop here in Kansas got it.

  14. I would swear I saw this on the shelf, but apparently my cover blindness is now manifesting in reverse.

  15. Looks like some stores got this and some stores didn’t. If your store got this then THIS WAS YOUR LUCKY WEEK.

  16. @homeboy2000  
    He did. He liked Rocketeer better. 

    It has a Darywn Cooke story in it. If Darwyn Cooke is writing and drawing a story, the chance of it being pick of the week on iFanboy is approximately 84%. For me, it’s 100% (though I’ll grab this in trade). 

  17. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @conor  This happened to me. I missed it AGAIN!

  18. I’m not even sure I saw this on my store shelf this week!  I might have to go and buy this digitally.  Or I might wait for a collection.

  19. I read the first one and thought it was the shits, so I’m not surprised this one a fun read as well.

  20. Yeah my shop didn’t get it either, this was the book I was most looking forward to this week.

  21. @AmirCat  Oh yeah, I’m with it! 😉

  22. So excited, I couldn’t put the first issue down.  I haven’t been to the LCS yet, but I’m stoked to get this issue.

  23. Crap my LCS had issue one and two in stock but i decided to pass on it. I might try to get it next week or just trade wait

  24. I hope this makes an excellent trade.  IDW has been really good about the packaging on their collected editions.

  25. FINALLY!! Rocketeer Adventures made the pick!! I was not even aware of The Rocketeer and this mini series made me a fan, it’s that good. 

    Very nice pick Conor! 

  26. Ya no you got it wrong ultimate spidey man.come on but for real I never even seen the rocketer movie way to shine light on a small book . Good going

  27. This SUCKS! My LCS didn’t have this. Dammit.
    @ conor : where did you pick up your copy? Brooklyn? Or Midtown?

  28. @nastysnow  I just read the collection and rewatched the movie today. Gave me bigger appreciation for the first issue, and made Mike allred’s story make more sense. I am annoyed that my store didn’t get this either.

  29. Great book! I still have issue 1 sitting unread since I was too busy that week to get to it, but since it was an anthology series I jumped in with issue 2 and had a lot of fun. Looking forward to digging through my unread stack and reading issue 1. That Darwyn Cooke story was gorgeous. The story with the boxing fight in the background reminded me of a Batman: The Animated Series story, which means it’s awesome.

    My pick of the week was Captain America, as I thought the art there was fantastic as well, and I thought the characterizations of Bucky, Black Widow, Nick Fury and Cap’n Steve were all spot on. Good action sequences, a nice new mission statement for Bucky (despite whatever happened to him in Fear Itself), and a nice quiet scene with Fury and Steve that reminded me of something out of Heat.

  30. As a single issue, this is one of the most satisfying comics that I’ve read in some time.  Great anthology style presentation, awesome art and stories all the way through and that Darrow centerfold is killer.  Glad I was able to find a copy!

  31. Glad to see this get some love.  I haven’t read the issue yet, but I loved, loved, loved the first issue.  I’m tackling my stack after my pain meds wear off…I got my wisdom teeth removed yesterday.

  32. I perfectly agree with this pick. I read Ultimate Spider-man 160 and it got me bored. That whole issue could have been told in just 4 pages. Something I hate about some of the book Bendis writes. It’s too decompressed. The Rocketeer on the other hand is just unlike any other comics in the stands right now, showcasing different talents about a great character. It may not add to a continuing narrative but it presents enjoyable stories nonetheless.

    Ultimate Spider-man 160 having a large PoTW percentage in my opinion is only because most fanboys are just bandwagoners who easily get swept with a major event in comics.

  33. This is going to make for an awesome collected edition.

  34. @thompsonlive  Am I the only one that didn’t like USM 160?  I’ve known it was coming for a while, and I know that played into it.  It had great art, but the emotion was gone from me because I knew what the ending was going to be.  Also, apparently Spiderman can take way more of a beating than the Human Torch, who is encased by fire but cannot take that fire being shot back at him. 

    After listening to a lot of the reviews of movies and seeing the Green Lantern pod, I know that this is a site for the fanboys who watch all the previews and gobble it all up, but when I’m excited about a movie I refuse to watch any trailers.  It makes the experience that much more enjoyable.  I hated those farmers commercials that showed what the Beast was going to look like post transformation.  I think the same is true of my comics.  The surprise is the best part. 

    In conclusion, I refuse to write anything about the Rocketeer.

  35. I can’t wait to pick this one up. The first one was a beautiful tribute and some incredible artistry throughout.

  36. YES! The “pick of the week” selection is dead on this week! It’s impossible to like comics and not love this book.

  37. Despite IDW doing an amazing job on this, it would be interesting to have the Rocketeer a part of a larger universe. With DC rebooting all of their titles, Rocketeer would have been a great property to acquire and phase into the DC Universe.

  38. Love this book was great The Rockteer is one the greatest comic hero ever!

  39. I haven’t had two seconds to sit down and read my comics this week, but I sure as hell grabbed this on Wednesday, not even knowing there was a Darwyn Cooke story.  I loved the first issue.  Going to hop on this as soon as I get home from work.  That cover is amazing.

  40. Hey guys, just found this rocketeer animated short online, my email isnt working or id send it to you there


    hope you guys enjoy it

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