Friday, May 17, 2013

I Reads You Review: THE ROCKETEER: Hollywood Horror #4


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. (May 2013)

The Rocketeer created by Dave Stevens

The Rocketeer vs. Hollywood Horror, Chapter 4 “A Night at the Altar”

I’m only a little more than a week late, but I did it. I finally got around to reading the fourth and final 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.

Created by the late artist and illustrator, Dave Stevens, The Rocketeer is stunt pilot, Cliff Secord. Secord finds a mysterious rocket backpack or jet-pack (the Cirrus X-3) that allows him to fly. Donning the jet-pack 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), with most of his activities occurring in and around Los Angeles.

Hollywood Horror opens in the year 1939. Cliff’s girlfriend, Betty, is searching for her missing roommate, Dahlia Danvers, a newspaper reporter. Cliff is in trouble with the actual inventor of the jet-pack (Howard Hughes?), 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 #4 opens, Cliff as The Rocketeer arrives at the Octopus Club to rescue her from Otto Rune’s clutches. He finds Lowcroft and a monster right out of nightmares ready to stop him. And even if Cliff rescues Betty, can he repair their strained relationship? He gets by with a little help from his friends.

The fourth issue of Hollywood Horror is the best issue of the series. The previous series, The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom, was like a big-budget B-movie with its sci-fi and monster (in this case, dinosaurs) elements; it was also dark in tone. Hollywood Horror is lighter in tone, talky, and resembles a screwball comedy, with the sci-fi elements being negligible, even the monster. In fact, this series is more about Hollywood than horror, with it cameos by and allusions to Hollywood legends of bygone eras.

The final issue is fun and fast-paced. The resolutions and romantic make-ups, reunions, and reconciliations give The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #4 a “Hollywood ending.” Can we imagine The Rocketeer giving us anything but a happy ending?


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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