Rocketeer: Cargo Of Doom #1 opens up a new short series in the Rocketeer franchise. This looks set to be a promising continuation of the Rocketeer title, even if slightly compromised by the limited 4-issue run.
First up, the official description from IDW:
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rocketeer with an all-new full-length series!
Dave Stevens created the Rocketeer in 1982 and it has proven to be a uniquely enduring Character. Now Cliff Secord and the Rocketeer take to the skies once again as Mark Waid and Chris Samnee spin a yarn in the best tradition of Dave Stevens, bringing us a tale of great adventure, suspense and humor!
A ship docks in Los Angeles harbor from a far-off and exotic locale—with a big, mysterious… and living… cargo! Danger and mayhem abound as our hero leaps into the fray! Plus, we introduce a lovely new character who will be vying against Betty for Cliff’s affections!
The first thing noticeable about Cargo of Doom #1 is the artistic take. The style of the comic very much feels similar to previous examples of Rocketeer. The style is far from modern, but it is certainly enjoyable. Considering this is title also serves as a great jumping on point for new readers, this has its advantages and drawbacks. For one, it doesn’t stand out amongst its fellow Rocketeer pieces of work, blending in instead of looking like an outsider. On the other hand, an updated approach might introduce the character to a broader audience.
As for the story itself, it certainly seems interesting. Cargo of Doom #1 is a little slow, as it primarily focuses on introducing the characters and suggesting side arcs whilst setting up pieces for future issues. Its entertaining none-the-less, but this issue isn’t heavy on the titular Rocketeer or action scenes as a whole.
My one major complaint with this issue, narrative wise, is the introduction of the new character, Sally. There is nothing wrong with Sally as a character, in fact she makes for some charming scenes regarding Clifford (The Rocketeer). My issue is that these scenes often quickly serve to set up some romance or trouble between Clifford and Betty. Whilst some may like this on going situation, after so many Rocketeer adventures their relationship never truly seems to be in trouble, and no new ‘threat’ is going to achieve that.
Yet despite its faults, Cargo of Doom #1 feels like a good example of Rocketeer at its best. It captures the time and setting, as well as getting to grips with the heart of the title’s appeal. The next issue will certainly look promising at least.