Monday, December 10, 2012

I Reads You Review: THE ROCKETEER: Cargo of Doom #4


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

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom comes to an end. This four-issue miniseries is the first new story arc featuring Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer, probably since 1995. The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom is produced by the Eisner Award-winning team of writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee (Daredevil).

For those who don’t know: The Rocketeer is a comic book character created by the late artist and illustrator, Dave Stevens. The Rocketeer is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious rocket backpack that allows him to fly. Donning the backpack and a metal helmet, Secord becomes the adventurer and masked crime-fighter, The Rocketeer. His adventures begin in 1938 and continue into the 1940s (for the time being). Most of his activities occur mainly in and around Los Angeles.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom is set 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. If domestic drama weren’t enough, The Rocketeer falls into a conspiracy involving The Master, a mysterious figure, and an invasion of dinosaurs.

As The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #4 begins, The Rocketeer battles the dinosaurs that have escaped into Los Angeles and are terrorizing the citizens. Luckily, our hero has a ray gun that takes care of the problem, but how long will this miraculous weapon hold? Still fuming, Betty spurs Peevy into action to help Cliff. Meanwhile, Sally and CAA Inspector Earl Garland also plot to help Cliff, or is there more to their actions?

For some reason, I thought that The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom was supposed to be a five-issue miniseries. Regardless, the wrap-up in this last issue seems rushed. The action that focused on The Rocketeer lacks the impact that a man with a rocket backpack fighting prehistoric monsters should have. That sequence is actually overly compressed when it should be open and run several pages. The Peevy/Betty bit is funny, while the Sally-Earl Garland segments offer intrigue, but may be a little too oblique at this point.

Still, The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom was and still is fun to read. I wouldn’t mind seeing Waid-Samnee give The Rocketeer another whirl.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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