Monday, May 13, 2013

I Reads You Review: THE ROCKETEER: Hollywood Horror #3


WRITER: Roger Langridge
COLORS: Jordie Bellaire
LETTERS: Tom B. Long
EDITOR: Scott Dunbier
COVERS: Walter Simonson with Jordie Bellaire – regular cover
Walter Simonson – Cover RI; and James White – Strange Adventures Retailer Exclusive Cover
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (April 2013)

The Rocketeer created by Dave Stevens

The Rocketeer vs. Hollywood Horror, Chapter 3 “In the soup”

I finally got around to reading the third issue of the latest Rocketeer comic book miniseries, The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror. This four-issue miniseries is written by cartoonist Roger Langridge and drawn by artist J Bone.

The Rocketeer is a fictional character created by the late artist and illustrator, Dave Stevens. The Rocketeer is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious rocket (or jet) 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 (as of this writing). Most of his activities occur mainly in and around Los Angeles.

The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror opens in the year 1939. Cliff’s girlfriend, Betty, is searching for her missing roommate, newspaper reporter, Dahlia Danvers. Cliff is in trouble with the actual inventor of The Rocketeer’s jet-pack, who has sent henchmen to retrieve it. Cliff’s friend, partner, and ace airplane mechanic, Peevy, learns that an old WWI acquaintance, scientist August “Augie” Lowcroft, is missing. Everything centers on impresario and mystic, Reverend Otto Rune and his Church of Cosmicism.

As The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #3 opens, Cliff is left without his jet-pack. Betty, who has infiltrated Rune’s organization, gets in deeper, with encouragement from a cagey husband and wife detective team. Peevy has a surprise for Cliff. Everything points to a big event at the Octopus Club, but first Cliff makes a stop at The Flying Swan, a bar where he meets the narrator.

The veiled references and cameo appearances by famous Hollywood types are what I like most about The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror. Clark Gable, Carol Lombard, and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy are among the stars that appear this time. That the narrator of Hollywood Horror might be a fictional version of Grouch Marx makes this a special treat for me. The suggested guest appearances by Nick and Nora Charles and the hint of Doc Savage go a long way in selling this series’ late 1930s setting.

Hollywood Horror’s story and plot are good, but the allusions and cameos make them even better. Bring on the conclusion.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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