This week the Rocketeer returns in The Rocketeer At War, and Hellcat gets a brand new ongoing series in Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat!
Rocketeer At War #1 (of 4) (IDW)
I’m a massive fan of The Rocketeer, so when IDW had announced a few years ago that they had the license for the character and were bringing new stories to comic shops I was very excited. But a lot of the new stories left me cold, and after his crossover with The Spirit ended, I figured I’d seen the last of new adventures with Cliff Secord. Thankfully that’s not the case, as Marc Guggenheim and Dave Bullock’s Rocketeer At War hits this week, and finally reveals the untold story of how the Rocketeer entered World War 2.
Now, the Rocketeer has appeared in stories where he’s fighting Nazis on the front lines before, but we’ve never seen the origins of how this came to be. Like many men his age in 1942, Cliff Secord enlists to help fight the good fight overseas, leaving his gal Betty, buddy Peavey, and his rocket pack behind. While in combat, Secord rescues a female ace pilot and is brought to the attention of generals working with Howard Hughes to use the inventor’s rocket pack against the Germans. Given a new pack and helmet, Cliff suits up to help the Allies turn the tide of the war in their favor.
Marc Guggenheim does a great job of bringing the Rocketeer back to the comic page, and it’s clear from the script that Guggenheim loves this character. Cliff Secord sounds and acts like both his Dave Stevens and silver screen counterparts. While Guggenheim’s script takes some time to get moving (we don’t see Cliff as the Rocketeer until the final page), his character work is so strong that this never bothered me.
Dave Bullock’s art is perfect for this miniseries. His style evokes the Bombshell Pin Up style of the 1940s but also has a little bit of a modern flair as well. Bullock has a great sense of action and pacing, with Secord’s fight with a German spy being the stand out action scene of the book. IDW’s Rocketeer books have always had pretty strong artists, but Bullock might be the best one yet.
Rocketeer At War is the start of a Rocketeer story I’ve always wanted. There’s no need to go back and read the other IDW miniseries to jump into this series either. If you’ve only seen the movie, that’s all you’ll need for background information for this comic. Rocketeer At War has brought back one of my favorite characters in fiction, and hopefully it’s the start of more adventures for Mr. Secord from IDW.
Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat #1 (Marvel Comics)
The latest character to get the “slice of life” Marvel treatment is the one and only Hellcat, Patsy Walker (who you might remember from Jessica Jones on Netflix). Featuring a script from indie superstar Kate Leth and artist Brittney Williams, Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat isn’t the type of comic that I usually read, However, even I wasn’t immune to some of the book’s charm.
This debut issue works as both a catch up for new readers and a new jumping on point for Hellcat fans of the past (thought I don’t know how many of those exist). Patsy Walker is working for her pal Jennifer Walters (the She-Hulk), and living her life in New York City. But once Jen tells her that she can’t afford to keep her on the payroll, Patsy ends up rooming with a new young Inhuman that she met earlier in the day, and while out with him she learns that one of her former friends has been republishing the old teen romance stories based on her that were written by her mother. Naturally this causes Patsy to get a little riled up, and brings her past back into the forefront, something she did not want to happen.
Kate Leth’s script crams in quite a bit. There’s a lot presented to you in this first issue, and at times it feels like Leth is rushing to get to the book she really wanted to have her first issue be. However, Patsy and her interactions with She-Hulk and her new friends is great, and Leth has a lot of fun playing around with Walker’s past as a model, celebrity, and superhero.
Brittney Williams’ art is definitely more in line with Marvel’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl than their other superhero titles, but it fits Leth’s script very well. The only weird part of her art is that at times Walker looks a little too short in her Hellcat outfit. I’m not sure if this is Williams’ style or an aspect of Hellcat’s character, but I’m guessing it’s the former. However, Williams’ art really sells a lot of Leth’s jokes and the tone of the book, and works more often than not.
Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat is not the type of comic that I typically read, but I might give the next issue a shot. While I haven’t been a fan of Marvel’s other “slice of life” books like Unbeatable Squirrel Girl or Howard The Duck, there’s something about this book that I kinda liked. Kate Leth and Brittney Williams’ comic has a lot of charm, and if it finds the right audience it could be a pretty big hit.