While this issue is billed as the next chapter of the Rocketeer, our hero barely makes a cameo. Instead we’re forced to ensure some out-of-character choices from our hero’s alter ego and some one-dimensional behavior from the supporting cast.
Who knew that a first-of-its kind air race could be so boring?
Instead of carrying the momentum from a strong premiere issue, Rocketeer: The Great Race #2 gets caught up in exposition. The story of a 1930s transatlantic race largely stalls in mid-air as a result. Of sure we get to see some cool-looking planes thanks to Stephen Mooney, who pulls double duty as both writer and artist. But the aircraft aren’t enough to pull this story out of its tailspin.
The biggest issue with this installment is the lack of the title character. Sure, we see plenty of Cliff Secord, but what we really want is his alter ego, the high-flying Rocketeer. Save for one short and clumsily included flashback, the hero is completely absent from this issue. Where is the action? When is the Rocketeer going smack a bad guy in the chops?
What’s even worse is that instead of reading about the Rocketeer’s adventures, we’re instead introduced to some one-dimensional, stereotypical characters. The drunken Irishman. The evil German. It’s only the introduction of successful female pilot Debbie Seville that breaks any new ground.
In fact, it’s Mooney’s female characters – Seville and the Secord’s bombshell girlfriend Betty – who make this chapter more readable. They are both strong personalities and drawn beautifully in a classic 1930’s style. Seville in particular is not afraid to take on any man – in the air or in a bar fight.
With one or two exceptions, the men – even our hero – are egotistic lug heads. We don’t want to see Secord trying to sabotage his competition. That’s what bad guys do. We expect more from our heroes. Another of Secord’s questionable decisions sets up this issue’s cliffhanger. Hopefully he’ll come to his senses before the next issue.
Rocketeer: The Great Race #2 will be available for purchase on May 4, 2022.