Monday, February 19, 2018
Home  >  Features  >  THE ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM - The MightyVille Review

Joe Kach reviews IDW's The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom. Did it soar or crash? Find out! 

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1


With IDW’s Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror hitting shelves and digital outlets now, Joe Kach thought it would be a good time to share with you his thoughts on the publisher’s previous offering, The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom.

Did it soar? Did it crash land? Read on to find out.

[Warning: Possible Spoilers Ahead]

The trailer sort of played out like this in my head:

“Written by the one-and-only Mark Waid! WOOSH! Drawn by none other than Chris Samnee! FWOOSH! Two of the biggest names in comics bring you … The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom! FWOOSH!”


Who knew it would be a disappointment?

The Rocketeer, A.K.A. Cliff Secord, has a pretty significant fan-following for a relatively obscure comic book character. Debuting in the early 80’s by creator Dave Stevens, the Rocketeer blasted his way into fans’ hearts and minds, and even got a chance to shine on the big screen in 1990.

But since then … not a whole lot. Until IDW got the publishing rights a few years back. Starting off with two volumes of The Rocketeer Adventures, IDW brought Cliff back into mainstream minds. And while those anthologies were fun and very well put together, there wasn’t a whole lot there to define Cliff and his world. I really felt they needed a longer consecutive story to flesh him out. And we’d get that with Cargo of Doom.

Combining Waid and Samnee to tell the first multi-issue Rocketeer story since Stevens’ sad passing seemed like a no-brainer. So what went wrong? I read it twice to be sure. Here’s what I settled on: It’s an oddly over-complicated execution of what seems like a simple and fun concept: The Rocketeer vs. Dinosaurs.


The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #4


Except that ended up being such a small part of it. Who was the main villain in this devious plot? I’m not quite sure. There were three or four bad guys and I couldn’t quite figure out who worked with whom. One of them had long hair and wanted to strap rocket packs onto the dinosaurs.


Later, said villain was burnt to an ugly crisp and pretty much murdered by the Rocketeer during his escape from captivity. Let’s say that seeing that was a bit … unsettling. Not that I am opposed to violence in the medium, but that’s not something I expected from a Rocketeer tale.

Cargo of Doom Art

The story was not without its moments, though. When a certain scene echoed an iconic Superman pose, I couldn’t help but smile. Waid has a good handle on the dialogue, especially the scenes between Cliff and his crushee (is that a word?), Sally. His heart carries through for sure. But, it really all comes down to the art of Chris Samnee.


Cargo of Doom Art


Samnee is a perfect fit for this title. While his style is quite a contrast from Stevens’, it definitely highlights the tone of that WWII era. His characters all look distinct; his action sequences dynamic; every page was a joy to look at. He’s definitely one of the best artists in comics today and the main reason that this book does not fail. Jordie Bellaire's colors were spot on for the story, ranging from dark and moody to bright and cheery seamlessly.

All in all, Cargo of Doom is a bit of a disappointment, but thanks to some stellar artwork, not a total loss. I’d recommend this book to die-hard Rocketeer and Mark Waid fans, and those who enjoy, umm, dinosaurs and classic art, but not many others. And of course, nothing with Chris Samnee’s work gracing its pages will get less than a “3” from me.

3 out of 5

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom is available now at fine retailers near you or online.


Who's your favorite Rocketeer artist? Let us know!

More Rocketeer on MightyVille:

COOL IMAGE: The Rocketeer by Tone Rodriguez

Tone Rodriguez Live Art Session: The Rocketeer


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