The second issue into the four part mini series, Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #2 sets things in full motion. Being the Rocketeer, this includes an explosion or two.
The official description from IDW:
Cliff Secord on the run! Betty in the clutches of the ghastly Otto Rune! And what is Peevy’s connection to the missing scientist? All this and more… as the Rocketeer must prevent nothing less than the wrath of the Lord Himself! More pulp action in the great Dave Stevens tradition!
In terms of plot, there is only so much depth these 4-part stories can go into, but Hollywood Horror #2 overall keeps it fun and relatively light. There’s no massively mysterious figure; certain characters are introduced enough that you can easily grasp who falls under “good” and “bad”, but it suits the title.
Of course, there’s also the typical drama between Cliff / Betty in here. That said, its gotten a lot better since Cargo Of Doom. Whilst she does get angry as usual, she’s given more freedom and a more developed side arc here at least, giving her more use to the comic and plot as a whole; she doesn’t feel as forced as last time, to put it simply.
A lot of this is down to the writing. Roger Langridge does a decent enough job at keeping everything quick and flowing. This does often come at the expense of the Rocketeer talking to himself a lot for exposition, but when you’ve only got four issues to tell a story, this is something I could happily overlook if it makes the rest of series more interesting. If there’s one complaint about the writing and dialogue, however, its that the overall narration from the last issue is greatly diminished, only appearing at the very beginning here.
As for the visual appeal, the art plays well to the Rocketeer‘s strengths. One of the more noticeable aspects is the more ‘cartooney’ or ‘cutesy’ aspect of some of the characters. J Bone‘s work is cute, but not over-simplified. It suits the lighter, less serious nature of the title. That said, its accompanied well by Jordie Bellaire‘s colouring. There’s detail and shading, but its again simplified at times, giving a throw back to the older Rocketeer titles with its restrictive palette.
In all honesty, this is a good example of the Rocketeer done right. Its not perfect, but it does its best to get through the plot, deliver some action and keep anyone entertained.