Review: Rocketeer – Hollywood Horror / Author : Roger Langridge / Artist: J. Bone / Publisher: IDW Publishing / Release Date: Out now
It’s very hard not to like the Rocketeer comic books; 1940s pulp action rocket heroes don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve, but the few new stories that feature them are labours of love. This time round, our brave rocket pack hero and his beautiful Bettie Page body double friend go after a sinister cult.
The story is part action serial romp and part monster horror show. Though the art and the narrative never go too far when it comes to sinister occultists and deadly monsters, we do get a fun two-fisted action adventure tale. The dialogue is strong, and though some aspects are a little over-simplified at points, it’s still a good story. The villains are nicely evil, appropriately brutal and cunning, and the canny investigators are a nice nod to this sort of sub-genre, even though it’s not exactly a horror story.
J. Bone’s art is dense and very cartoon-like, resembling a highly stylised version of the sort of newspaper comic strips that were common in the '40s. Bone knows exactly when to go big and pull out all the stops, and the action sequences are smooth, fun and very well coordinated. His visual take on both the protagonists is especially good and he strikes a nice balance between looking heroic and looking lovely for both characters.
Some of the sub-plots do feel a little clumsy at times, but rather than detracting from the work, this gives the book an episodic, syndicated comic book serial feel, lending an even stronger 1940s vibe to the work.