In a cold Central City councilman Alderman Cunningham is arguing against TV rights going to private enterprise, unfortunately his passionate pleas fall on deaf ears and as he leaves the council chambers he indicates that the debate may be over but his campaign isn't.
The next morning during a sea front photo shoot three thousand miles from Central City the councilman is found dead, the model that stumbles across the dead councilman is none other than Betty the model girlfriend of Cliff Secord The Rocketeer (never a dull moment with that girl). The councilman's death prompts both police commissioner Dolan and The Sprit to fly across country to investigate, they are joined on their trip by the commissioner's daughter Ellen who has hopes of seeing someone famous while in Hollywood. Unknown to any of them the air field they are to fly into is the one where the Rocketeer works, and when 3 strangers one who is masked emerge from a plane looking for the woman who found the dead body of the councilman, alarms bells begin to ring for Peev the Rocketeers engineer.
Insert your normal hero against hero battle as the Rocketeer try's to stop the car carrying the Spirit, the commissioner and his daughter as it makes its way to his girlfriends home, a battle that involves the Sprit taking on the Rocketeer in mid flight its all good stuff and takes me back to the fun days of comics.
The twist is that Peev and the commissioner both know each other they are old war buddies its friendship that helps stop the Spirit & Rocketeer knocking lumps out of each other, so its off to Bettys (not the tea shop) to talk to her about the dead councilman. Betty has been laid up in bed with the shock of finding a dead body (drama queen) refusing to answer her door to anyone, however on hearing a strangers voice at her door she is happy to open it and fall into the arms of the Sprit barley able to stand with all that she as seen (as I said drama queen). From the look on Ellen's face I cannot see her staying in the Spirits arms for too long, and I suspect the interaction between Betty and Ellen may be just one of the many joys this book has to offer.
I went into this story a little unsure as I don't have any history with the Spirit and I didn't want that lack of unfamiliarity to spoil my enjoyment, well it didn't the story written by Mark Waid is a total joy one of the best starts to a Rocketeer story I have read this year. and I've enjoyed all of them so far. Any lack of knowledge I had about the Spirit is handled on the inside cover in around 5 lines and gave me all I needed know, the art by Paul Smith is a good fit for the story along with the colouring of Jordie Bellaire who's colours set the pulp fell that runs throughout the book.
If you haven't picked this book up yet do yourself a favour and do so it a good fun book with a great story line featuring two fantastic characters, I cannot recommend it any more than that other than to say it has raised my interest in the Spirit and I will be checking out some of his past story lines, any pointers on what to check out would be appreciated.