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'The Rocketeer: The Great Race' #1 review: Blast off to adventure!

Comic Books

‘The Rocketeer: The Great Race’ #1 review: Blast off to adventure!

The Rocketeer returns for daring, high-stakes action just in time for his 40th anniversary.

What a great return to yesteryear in The Rocketeer: The Great Race, a brand new miniseries from IDW that brings us back to the adventures of Cliff Secord, aka The Rocketeer!  The Rocketeer is a fun hero to go back with, and I love all the tropes he embodies.  In this new series, we experience espionage and action, character drama, and history wrapped up in this first issue. 

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1
IDW

Stephen Mooney creates a great setup for The Rocketeer as it affects both parts of his life.  The fact that Cliff is an adrenaline junkie helps explain why a person would be OK with strapping a rocket to their back and fighting crime.  In this setup, Cliff understands how close he came to buying the farm and losing his main love interest, Betty, after chasing a lead to find some Nazis on American soil. 

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This scenario puts Cliff in a situation where he thinks of hanging up the rocket, which is a common trope we see and, in my opinion, is a great way to explore the true core of a hero.  That is a great way to celebrate this significant anniversary of The Rocketeer.  Sure enough, Cliff discovers the Nazis and takes them on, allowing Stephen Mooney to showcase his art by showing action scenes mixed with fisticuffs and fast movement. 

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1
IDW

I also appreciate that Mooney writes Cliff smart enough to know when he has too much on his plate to tackle alone.  That confrontation with the Nazis causes the close call for Cliff as he is escaping, which leads to a beautiful two-page spread giving us a mini-history lesson of The Rocketeer.  Something bothered me about that transition from the two-page to the next page, however; I like how Stephen used a fall to landing to connect the pages, but it does leave you with a sense that something is missing. 

Besides that, everything else plays just as if the original creator, Dave Stevens, was writing this adventure.  Stephen Mooney nails the character of Cliff Secord and even manages to showcase a bit of growth for him.  Familiar characters like Betty and Peevy keep their voice and play their parts excellently.  The setup is good and makes for an exciting adventure to put Cliff in certain peril; I also enjoyed how Stephen Mooney kept the speech to make it feel straight out of that era. 

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1
IDW

The end of the issue is then dedicated to Dave Stevens and showcases some interviews and stories about the late artist.  The history is all written up by Kelvin Mao, who produces a documentary, Dave Stevens: Drawn to Perfection, which should be coming soon.  The reminiscing is excellent and helps put the reader in tune with how Dave Stevens was and how his writing/drawing style came from the heart and life. 

It was pretty interesting to read those bits and even hear from Dave’s ex-wife, Brinke Stevens, about how they were Cliff and Betty in real life.  I know I can’t wait to see how things play out in the rest of this miniseries.

Blast off to the world of yesteryear and experience high adrenaline and two-fisted action with The Rocketeer! What a great return to this hero on his 40th anniversary by putting him in quite the situation to remind us of the hero he is!

'The Rocketeer: The Great Race' #1 review: Blast off to adventure!
‘The Rocketeer: The Great Race’ #1 review: Blast off to adventure!
The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1
Blast off to the world of yesteryear and experience high adrenaline and two-fisted action with The Rocketeer! What a great return to this hero on his 40th anniversary by putting him in quite the situation to remind us of the hero he is!
Reader Rating2 Votes
9.6
Stephen Mooney does a great honor to Dave Stevens by being the next writer/artist to tackle The Rocketeer!
Cliff, Betty, and Peevy all sound just like their characters and this makes for a smooth connection to Rocketeer comics of the past yet with none of the baggage
The story plays perfectly to bring in new fans, fans from the 1991 movie, and even comics fans to the world of espionage and action that embodies The Rocketeer
The history of Dave Stevens at the end of the book was awesome and such a great way to make a connection with the late, great creator
There was some scene shifts that made the story feel a little disjointed
9
Great
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