Advance Review: The Hero Finally Makes His Return In `The Rocketeer– The Great Race #4

by Tom Smithyman


With nearly all of the first three issues devoid of the hero, this final issue in the limited series serves up the Rocketeer in buckets. It’s a welcome change – and showcases the title’s most exciting artwork yet.


The Rocketeer is back – finally!

After three issues where the titular character showed up only sporadically, the Rocketeer is front and center for the finale of this limited series. In fact, we never even see his alter ego, Cliff Secord, who dominated the earlier chapters. That editorial change has helped to turn around the entire series. After all, who wants to see earthbound Cliff when they can soar with the Rocketeer?

After giving up on the airplane race that brought him to Europe, the hero has souped up his regular rocket with special jet fuel that allows him to fly faster than ever. That comes in handy so he can finally confront Nazi pilot Iron Baron – with the help of bombshell pilot Debbie Seville.

Stephen Mooney pulls double duty as the writer and artist for the series. As readers have seen throughout the four issues, his scripts are on the predictable side, but very much in keeping with the feel of the original comics – particularly for a story set in the 1930s. The bag guys do what the bad guys do But his women are particularly strong, which is a nice touch.

Similarly, his artwork takes on the character of the times, with think lines showing off the occasional femme fatales and aircraft pilots. He’s helped with by Len O’Grady, whose colors, while slightly muted, pop off the page. But it’s Mooney’s Rocketeer that really makes the issue. The character is perfect for comics, and his absence has been noticeable.

While providing a definitive ending for this story, Mooney sets up a future where the high-flying hero will be needed. Will readers follow? One thing is for certain: they’ll need more of the title character for it to be successful.

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #4 will be available for purchase tomorrow.

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