Get out your jetpacks and and pink hair, we're reviewing Rocket Girl from Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare!
It's the far flung future of 2013 and teenagers are the new future police with jetpacks and flying cars! But something isn't right, the future shouldn't be this way, so 15 yr old officer Dayoung goes back in time to 1986 to fix it! Will she succeed?
This is such a FANTASTIC book. It is doing everything right, firing on all cylinders, and looking gorgeous doing it.
First of all the book is GORGEOUS. Amy Reeder's art is stunning on every conceivable level. The action scenes are incredibly well done, the inking is tight, the colors are vivid, and all of the characters have so much life to them. Also take into account that most of this book takes place in 1986 and she gets the time period PERFECTLY. A shot of downtown Times Square looks like 80's Times Square. You can tell how much research they put into the making of this book. It's amazing. She also has one of those styles that hits the sweet spot between cartoony and realistic. It's cartoony enough that all the characters have character and their own distinct style but realistic enough to make it feel real. I love how the whole book has a real sense of movement. It almost feels like an animation.
And speaking of characters that have style, one of the great ways I can tell all the characters apart(and one of the reasons I love the book) is that IT HAS A DIVERSE CAST. Dayoung, the star of the book, is a mixed-race(Chinese and German) girl, her partner in the future is a mixed race boy named Leshawn O'Patrick, and the group of scientists she encounters in the past includes women and people of color! It's really refreshing and fits perfectly in both time periods. On the one hand, you have the 80s, which is a time when women were really pushing to be independent and America was more of a melting pot than ever, then you have this utopian future where effectively all races have mixed. It's super cool. I wish more books were this diverse. And they're great characters too! Dayoung is a headstrong teen(pre-teen?) but she never feels like a damsel in distress or a Strong Female Character.
It's a really cool story. It reminds me somewhat of the show Continuum with the whole coming back in time to fix stuff, but with the added pleasure of teen superhero in a jetpack. It goes back and forth between 1986 and 2013, and it does this really great trick with establishing text by calling them "2013: The past" and "1986: The present". It's subtle but it goes a long way in distinguishing what's happening when and gives it some style. Time travel stories are always tricky, but this one seems to be moving in the right direction with having Dayoung wonder if she's going to fix the future or if her coming back was predestined and she hasn't done anything at all. I also love how kids are running the police in the future and how Dayoung has natural distrust in all adults. That's par for the course for kids and fits perfectly here.
There's also a lot of funny parts. I laughed out loud in issue five when Dayoung meets a group of her fans who want to get her out of a bind. Also, I love Commissioner Gomez, who is Dayoung's boss and is a 13 yr old with the weakest prepubescent mustache ever. It's an all around fun book with some great writing from Montclare.
It is an incredibly beautiful, incredibly fun, an incredibly diverse book and I can't wait to see where they take it next. The trade paperback will be out soon but for now you can buy the first five issues on the Image site or from Comixology!
THE GOOD: BEAUTIFUL art, cool story, diverse cast, great characters, great style, cool action scenes and sci-fi, funny, fun, perfect 1980's period piece.
THE BAD: ????
THE VERDICT: 5/5 GO OUT AND GET IT. It's really good you guys. You will not be sorry about picking up this comic.
BOOKS LIKE IT: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Shockrockets, Terminal City, Rocketeer, Batman Beyond, Batgirl, Nextwave
ONE-PAGE METAPHOR: In the first issue, Dayoung goes and apprehends a shooter she hears about on the police bands with ease. She's 15 yr old with a jetpack and taking charge of the crime scene like she were a battered old detective who's tired of being called in. The cops try to take her in, but she gets the upper hand of them in a very cool and hilarious way. You can feel the movement of the fight scenes as if it were a cartoon.