Monday, September 24, 2012



WRITER: Mark Waid
ARTIST: Chris Samnee
COLORS: Jordie Bellaire
LETTERS: Shawn Lee
EDITOR: Scott Dunbier
COVERS: Chris Samnee with Dave Stewart – regular cover
Dave Stevens – Cover RI
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S.

In a world where there is a jet pack/rocket backpack that a man can use to fly, why can’t there also be a lost island where dinosaurs still live? This is the world of The Rocketeer.

The Rocketeer is a comic book character created by the late artist and illustrator, Dave Stevens (who died in March of 2008). Cliff Secord is a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious jet pack that allows him to fly. Secord dons the pack and a metal helmet and becomes the adventurer and masked crime-fighter, The Rocketeer, whose adventures are set mainly in Los Angeles and begin in 1938.

The Rocketeer returned to comic books in 2011 with Rocketeer Adventures. Edited by Scott Dunbier and published by IDW Publishing, this anthology comic book was a tribute to Dave Stevens. The series featured Rocketeer short stories from some of the premiere creators in American comic books. Now, the adventure continues in a new series, The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom, from writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom opens in 1940 and finds Cliff with troubles on his hands. The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) may take away his pilot’s license. Sally, the young niece of Cliff’s best pal, Peevy, is now working as a mechanic at Peevy’s. Sally has a mad crush on Cliff, and Cliff’s girlfriend, the bombshell actress Betty, is fuming about the crush and about Sally being around Cliff so much.

As The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #2 begins, the mysterious Trask and The Master continue the plot they are hatching out of the docks at the Port of Los Angeles. Cliff learns that he has a new case worker from the CAA, a brawny black man named Earl Garland, who can hit back (unlike the last guy). The Master also makes a move on capturing The Rocketeer and reveals what he has stowed away in his ship’s cargo hold.

In my review of the first issue of Cargo of Doom, I admitted that I was not crazy about the comic book’s cover price ($3.99). I wrote that I might eventually balk at paying $20 to read the entire series. I haven’t balked yet.

This is a good series. Mark Waid offers characters that are more character types than fully-developed characters, but they work for Cargo of Doom. Samnee’s art is still tight and still eye-catching, especially with that killer figure drawing. How could I stop reading this? The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom is the kind of rousing, fantasy adventure that got me started reading comics.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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