The Rocketeer follows the high-flying adventures of ace stunt pilot Cliff Secord after he finds a mysterious jetpack and takes to the skies. On his action-packed adventures, Cliff must navigate the treacherous waters of maintaining a relationship with his knock-out girlfriend Betty, while continuing to battle evil and injustice – no easy feat!
The first time I crossed paths with The Rocketeer was the 1991 big screen version which fueled my crush on Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) who played the part of Betty. I was not surprised to learn that originator of the comic book, Dave Stevens, was hired by filmmaker Steven Spielberg to create presentation boards for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) as both embody the rollicking swashbuckling of the B-movie serials of the 1930s.
With Rocketeer Adventures, Volume 2, the high flying spirit and patriotism depicted by Dave Stevens is maintained. The first of 12 chapters titled The Good Guys explores the theme that end justifies means especially when stand up against injustice. The second installment misfires as the Looney Tunes inspired Ducketeer tries too hard to emulate the iconic cartoon television series and is drawn in a distracting way which is best describe as a crayon watercolour technique. The comedic approach is put to far better use in the John Carter of Mars influenced Cliff Secord Warlord of Blargon where a number misunderstandings lead to good intentions causing bad deeds. The beginnings of a famous superhero is given an interesting spin A Dream of Flying and Paul Dini from Batman: The Animated Series [Fox, 1992 to 1995] composed the tale Betty’s Big Break where an insecure Cliff spies on his girlfriend while she is filming science fiction Western with rather mixed results.
No fault can be found with the layout and the design of the anthology. Before each chapter is a cover page with the most dramatic being the one featuring the caption Victory Through Air Power created in a stylish Metropolis (1927) fashion by Darwyn Cooke. The collection of pin-ups cleverly evokes B-movie posters as they include dinosaurs, a monstrous Nazi, a romantic flight, and a dangerous vixen. Overall Rocketeer Adventures, Volume 2 offers a diverse interpretation of the concept devised by Dave Stevens which will see it continue to soar for years to come.
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada.