Review: Rocketeer – Cargo of Doom / Author: Mark Waid / Artist: Chris Samnee / Publisher: IDW Publishing / Release Date: March 5th
There is simply not enough 1930s pulp action adventure in the world. The Rocketeer started life as a comic book, got turned into a movie that many people loved and then sank without a trace. However, given that rumours abound of a remake, it is perhaps not that surprising that we've come full circle.
It’s a good job that we have: Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom captures the thrill of pulp fiction perfectly. Without giving anything away, this book aces the checklist of essential requirements for a two-fisted action adventure. One of those things, of course, is a beautiful femme fatale, and artist Chris Samnee renders the love interest, Betty, extremely well. The original book based the character design on '50s icon Bettie Page, and Samnee has kept this look and applied a similar ‘classic’ aesthetic to the entire enterprise. The result is retro and pulptastic, but also new and interesting at the same time.
Writer Mark Waid is an old hand at creating addictive stories of this sort, and he lends a cinematic eye to the whole affair. There is OTT villainy, good, old-fashioned homespun wisdom and a great many references to a romanticised version of the '30s where the planet was still populated with forgotten islands crammed with fantastic monsters and atomic science might as well have been voodoo. If you love Indiana Jones or even the recent Captain America movie, then you will find yourself on familiar ground with Cargo of Doom. Pulp action is becoming increasingly popular these days, and this is a fantastic example of how it should be done. If your childhood dreams ever involved defeating faceless minions and going to strange new worlds, then this is for you.