This was my first glimpse into the world of the Rocketter and as I have been dipping my toe into the world of Pulp, I thought why not when I saw this on the shelf of the local comic shop.
Its 1940 and Cliff Secord is the Rocketeer a stunt pilot who working out of an unnamed airfield (well in this book anyway), along with his mechanic friend Peev (short for Peabody) who knows Cliff is the Rockateer. Peev's niece Sally also works at the airfield as a mechanic and she has a big crush on Cliff, a fact she happily tells the Rocketeer not knowing he is Cliff I know it’s complicated. To make matters worse for Cliff (the Rocketeer if I’ve already lost you) he has a long term girlfriend called Betty, who is clearly based on the 50's pin up diva Betty Page so it’s not all bad for him when you think about it.
The story starts off with Sally who is testing a plane with a member of the Civil Aeronautics Agency, who makes it quite clear that he will grant the licence as long as Sally accepts his advances. Not been that kind of girl she pushes him away which causes the plane door to open and a parachute to fall out of the plane, the parachute then becomes entangled in the propeller causing the plane to go into free fall. Yes I know it’s all Saturday morning cinema drama (yes I am that old) but it is enjoyable, after been alerted to the falling plane by Peev Cliff dons his Rocketeer suit which he keeps in his locker(?). Then as the Rocketeer he fly’s to the plane untangles the parachute, and with a little help from Sally's expert handling of the plane save the day (I can hear the kids cheering as he does so).
Meanwhile a ship is making its way to LA carrying a mystery cargo something deadly, well its deadly enough to literally bite off the hands that were feeding it but to be fair he was told to be cautious. The ship has its fair share of colourful characters theres the dodgy Captain, Duggan the short tempered neanderthal mussel and Guptmann who was subjected to some sort of brain surgery in the past, surgery that has left him not the man he ones was.
Once the ships docks we get to meet a mysterious character who the ships captain refers to as Master, he is also someone who seems to have more than a passing interest in the Rocketeer.
In the mean time Cliff has managed to upset his girlfriend then win her back again, hit the Civil Aeronautics Agency Inspector for grounding him. Not pick up that Sally has the hot’s for him something his girlfriend Betty did, although I think calling her a Jezebel is a bit harsh. Then finish the night by dragging Betty into the bushes for a goodnight kiss, they took it slow in the 40's or so I'm told (I'm defiantly not that old).
So all in all its a packed issue and you certainly get your money’s worth, and the book feels longer than 22 pages.
It was writer Marc Wades name that attracted me to the book and although I enjoyed the story it does feel like it jumps around a bit, at one point I did have to check that there wasn’t a page missing as the story didn’t seem to follow on quite right.
I found the art by Chris Samnee a little cartoonish in tone but it does fit the story well and helps set the feel of the era, however I did feel that the darker scenes set at night or in the hold of the ship came over better than the day time ones.
This book I suspect is not for everyone but if you’re a fan of pulp fiction (not the film) then you will enjoy this book, as I said at the start of this blog I have been getting into the world of pulp over the last few months. If I’m honest it’s not the best thing I have read in that time but it did get me interested in the world of the Rocketeer, and I'm prepared to continue with this book as my curiosity is peeked as to what’s been kept in the hold of the ship. I have my suspicions as the captain mentioned setting sail from Skull but was cut off mid sentence, I'm guessing its the land of Kong Skull Island and they have some sort of prehistoric creature in the hold,I will let you know if I'm right.