Things change in this penultimate issue as The Rocketeer flies head first into action. The predicaments present here will complicate things as this story-arc is all about the Great Race, so how does our hero find himself trying to be in two places at once? The story featured is quite the pickle that Stephen Mooney has crafted for the main character that finds ways to interest you with thrilling feats of flight, dramatic escapes, and nasty Nazis sneaking around.
As a reminder, this is the 40th anniversary of The Rocketeer. Like the previous issues, at the end of this comic, there is a history of Dave Stevens by Kelvin Mao. These have been fascinating parts of the overall history, and this issue lets us see some of Dave Stevens’ interactions with the live-action Rocketeer movie. Great photos and reminiscences; keep an eye out for the documentary Dave Stevens: Drawn to Perfection.
Going back to the comic book side of this issue, I have to say that Stephen Mooney and Len O’Grady improved with this issue’s collaboration. They are in perfect step with each other, and the art is ideal; there is no second-guessing what is happening as the art and color are very clean. I found this to be their best issue, art-wise, yet. Nothing felt clunky, and even when they had the big bar fight, it was still crisp and clean action.
The other two big action scenes were up in the air. One with Cliff flying the experimental Nkosi 5000 and the other where the Rocketeer and Betty take on the Nazi spy ring. The flight scene was a great way to have the story’s pace start high and recap readers. Stephen Mooney also crafted a situation showing Cliff’s abilities as an astonishing pilot. The second action scene is where Betty showcases that she is not a “damsel in distress.” I certainly enjoyed seeing her save the day and showing up the Rocketeer.
Having that moment where Betty is in trouble creates another situation that Cliff will have to fix. He exits the race to save the day as the Rocketeer, but that will put further distance between him and the other racers. I like that complication as it looks to set up the finale as quite the feat or maybe a wild twist in the series. Also, there was quite the buildup of Delton Nkosi and his mysterious meeting and Debbie Seville getting is some development that showcases her as a great pilot and fighter. These new characters are a great addition to the world of The Rocketeer as they are just as charismatic and intriguing for this flashy world.
The Rocketeer: The Great Race #3 is a fun issue that moves the story along with lots of adventure for Cliff Secord and his alter-ego, The Rocketeer. The spotlight is also on supporting characters as they find themselves pulled into Cliff’s world. The issue sets up a quick situation for Cliff both in and out of the jet pack.
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