The first issue of The Rocketeer: The Great Race set the stage and showcased the players in the story. Cliff Secord, the Rocketeer, has been offered a job to pilot Professor Delton Nkosi’s experimental plane. The story and adventure continue from writer/artist Stephen Mooney as he embodies the legacy of Dave Stevens. In this second part, we get more characters, mystery, and elevated action to help the Rocketeer shine on his 40th anniversary.
SPOILERS AHEAD for The Rocketeer: The Great Race #2!
We get to meet some of the international pilots taking part in this worldwide race from California to France with this issue. I appreciate the spread of creativity that Stephen Mooney brings with his new characters. The first one we meet is Debbie Seville, a trendsetter who goes against the type of roles women should play in that era. She is an excellent ace pilot and mechanic whose reputation precedes her. We only know the other pilot as “the Baron”; he plays perfectly into the typical stereotype of being the Nazi bad guy.
When Stephen Mooney introduces them, he does it very bombastically as they both make splash entrances with Cliff and the locals. Peevy and Cliff are bewildered by Debbie, which causes Betty a bit of jealousy for our entertainment. The Baron plays the jerk card most excellently, and we find out he is quite the villain in a spot of pages that help to explain how Cliff survived his Rocketeer crash last issue. This does a great job of filling in that gap that made the previous issue feel a touch off.
The art plays to scenes of introduction and character/world building which is fine, but I found it daring and interesting to have so very little of the Rocketeer featured in the issue. It works nicely to help Cliff Secord shine outside of the helmet and gives him a chance to be recognized as a first-rate pilot. The scene in the diner plays out the trash talk and gets the characters heated to show how they’ll be facing each other in the skies later on.
There is minimal action except for the quick flashback — but when the Great Race begins, things turn deadly for some. We see that the Baron isn’t just arrogant and aggressive when he talks, but that same attitude carries over when he flies. I also like that there is a moment where the Baron receives a radio message — it tracks that they might be talking about Cliff, but I wonder if it could be someone else?
Also, there is a moment begging to be investigated with Bella Assuage during the press conference. I am also curious about what part Debbie Seville will play in this story; will she be a friendly or maybe a femme fatal? I appreciate that bit of curiosity from the story, and this issue does a fine job of progressing. It’ll be interesting to see what the skies hold for the race and upcoming issue #3.
The Rocketeer: The Great Race #2 is a fun issue that continues to play in and build the timeless world of The Rocketeer. We are getting new characters that will have their parts to play, some obvious and some mysterious. Now we prep to enter the cockpit, participate in the great race, and see what action awaits.
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