Tuesday, September 6, 2011

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Rocketeer Adventures #1 (Review)

Written by Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek, John Cassaday
Art by Mike Allred, Michael Kaluta, John Cassaday, Mike Mignola, Dave Stewart & Jim Silke
Cover by Alex Ross

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

The third week of May once again brought the return of the giant stack with over 20 titles making my reading list. There were several series that grabbed my attention and interestingly enough, all were #1 issues and gave much promise to the future of those titles.

Marvel had the awkwardly titled ALPHA FLIGHT #0.1, which reintroduced the original team, and X-MEN GIANT-SIZE #1, that had the story take Cyclops between the present and the past. Dark Horse brought a new Star Wars title to the mix STAR WARS: JEDI - THE DARK SIDE #1, a tale where Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn is in the forefront. But in the end it was IDW Publishing that came out with the comic book that made it to the top of my stack by featuring a timeless hero in entertaining stories within the pages of ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #1.

This first issue of an all-new Rocketeer anthology mini-series brings together creators Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek and John Cassaday to weave three different short stories featuring Cliff, Betty and the legendary rocket pack. Allred is most likely best known for his own comic creation, Madman, and for his Rocketeer story, "Home Again", Cliff returned to Betty and Peevy to get help with a duplicate helmet and rocket pack along with a story about a mysterious ally he had made that wants to replicate the system and wants Cliff to do something.

Busiek is a well traveled comic writer, an Eisner and Harvey award winner, and for his story, "Dear Betty", he wrote a tale of Cliff's letters to Betty during World War II as he went on his adventures around the world fighting the war as the Rocketeer while she did her part as a medical nurse and the isolation and unknown that goes on in Betty's mind as the letters start to become less frequent and ends with a re-imagining of the famous sailor kissing a lady photo from that time with Cliff and Betty.

Cassaday's story, "The Rocketeer", was Cliff saving Betty from some thugs and a giant rocket she was tied to, and Betty not being entirely pleased with his methods and letting her displeasure be known.

For the art, the cover was drawn by another big name creator, Alex Ross, and his stunning visual art fit the legendary Rocketeer character perfectly. Both Allred and Cassaday drew the stories that they wrote and for Busiek's it was Michael Kaluta providing the art. Each has a different style to bring to the table but all are able to capture the energy and attitude of the characters and the time they live in. Throw in pinups by Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart colors and Jim Silke and this first issue of ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #1 is filled to the brim with gorgeous art to match the fun stories.

Ever since watching the movie 20 years ago that quickly became a favorite of mine the character of the Rocketeer has always had a special place in my heart. So when this anthology series came to be I knew it would be a must read and it surpassed even my expectations of how much I would enjoy it. With each story giving a unique aspect to the world the Rocketeer characters live in and how having that helmet and rocket pack around affects their lives, I cannot wait to read the following issues and seeing what else the creators do with these characters I love so much.

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