Thursday, December 5, 2013

I Reads You Review: THE ROCKETEER/THE SPIRIT: Pulp Friction #3

IDW PUBLISHING with DC Entertainment – @IDWPublishing and @DCComics

WRITER:  Mark Waid
ART: J Bone
COLORS: Rom Fajardo
LETTERS: Tom B. Long
EDITOR: Scott Dunbier
SUBSCRIPTION VARIANT COVER: Chris Samnee with Jordie Bellaire
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (November 2013)

First appearing in the 1980s, comic book character, The Rocketeer, was created by artist and illustrator, Dave Stevens (who died in March of 2008).  Stunt pilot Cliff Secord discovers a mysterious jet pack, which he straps to his back.  Adding a helmet, Secord becomes “The Rocketeer,” and begins a series of adventures set mainly in Los Angeles and beginning in the year 1938.

Golden Age comic book character, The Spirit, was created by legendary cartoonist Will Eisner (who died in January 2005).  The Spirit first appeared on June 2, 1940 in what readers called “The Spirit Section.”  This was a 16-page, Sunday newspaper supplement or insert that was carried in various newspapers from the 1940s and to the early 1950s.  Once known as Detective Denny Colt (believed by some to be dead), The Spirit is a masked vigilante who fights crime in Central City.

The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction is a comic book series that brings these characters together.  Published by IDW Publishing (in association with DC Comics), the series is written by Mark Waid and drawn by various artists.  Pulp Friction unites the two heroes, as they try to solve a peculiar murder case.

The corpse of Alderman Tommy Cunningham, Central City politician, is found in Los Angeles, although it is physically impossible for him to be in L.A.  Meanwhile, longtime Spirit nemesis, The Octopus, has joined Hollywood “producer,” Benedict Trask, in a plot to use the new medium of television to launch a worldwide criminal enterprise

As The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction #3 opens, The Rocketeer visits The Spirit’s home/base of operations at Wildwood Cemetery.  Meanwhile, Cliff’s girlfriend and actress, Betty, is also in Central City for meeting with Trask, who puts her up in a posh hotel.  Betty is about to discover, however, that Trask wants to make her a star in the new medium of television, but not in the way she expects.

At this point in my review cycle of The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction, I have run out of things to say about Mark Waid writing The Rocketeer.  That is especially when I consider how much I liked his earlier effort, The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom.  Simply put, he’s good with the character.  [Dear Mr. Dunbier, More Mark Waid Rocketeer, please.]

J Bone, who seems to emanate from the Bruce Timm-Dawyn Cooke school of cartooning, makes a welcomed return to The Rocketeer.  As talented as J Bone is, neither his style nor his draftsmanship, approaches that of the late Dave Stevens or the late Will Eisner.  Yet, there are moments in this wonderful comic book in which Bone captures the spirit of both artists’ work on their signature characters.  From the Rocketeer’s mad chase through the canyons of Central City to Betty’s femme fatale, behind-the-curtain dance, Bone captures the graphical essence of what made Eisner and Stevens’ comics exceptional, iconoclastic works of the medium.

Tune in tomorrow… next issue


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.

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