Friday, December 5, 2014

Rocket Girl, Volume 1: Times Squared

Sometimes I buy a book because its topic interests me, or I like the creators' work, or it's part of a series. And sometimes I buy a book just because it looks so beautiful. That was the case with this particular book, a trade paperback collection of the first 5 issues of the comic book series. I had no idea what Rocket Girl was about or who made it, but I knew it looked great. I am also happy to report that it read very well and that I enjoyed it very much.

The plot revolves around time travel. Dayoung Johansson, aka Rocket Girl, is a 15-year-old police officer from the future year of 2013 where flying cars and jetpacks are typical modes of transportation. If you are at all aware of reality you realize that there is a lot off in that last sentence, as we don't have those kinds of vehicles or law officers. The issue seems to be based in Quintim Mechanics, a corporation that is so large that it runs the government in 2013, but in a clandestine way, because no one seems to know who its board of directors are. In 1986, where the bulk of this story happens, QM is a research operation that makes a device that brings Rocket Girl back to past but blows up in the process. It seems hardly a threat, made up of a ragtag band of researchers, scientists, and graduate students.

I will be honest: the plot was good enough to sustain my interest and keep me wanting more, part fish-out-of-water story about a future traveler trying to adjust to the past/part mystery about what happened to make such a future occur. By the end of the book, I was left wanting to read more and looking forward to volume 2, but the plot is not the main star here. Just look at this 3-page sequence and you'll see what I am talking about:
I loved the energy and dynamism in the layouts, the expressive lines and vibrant colors, and I could luxuriate in those images for a while. I love that the protagonist looks like an athletic teenager and is not overly sexualized. I like that the art is a sort of modern take on the European comics artists I saw featured in 1970s and 1980s Heavy Metal magazines. Pretty much the worst thing I can say about the art is that 1986 New York City is not depicted in gritty enough fashion. It was a rougher city back then, with a lot more sleazy elements, and the day-glo images above make it look pretty clean. But that is a teeny tiny quibble.

This is the second book from these creators, the first being Halloween Eve. The art is by Amy Reeder, a multiple Eisner Award nominee whose past works include the manga Fool's Gold as well as runs on DC Comics' Madame Xanadu and Batwoman titles. The story is by Brandon Montclare, who has worked as an editor for a large number of DC Comics and Vertigo titles in addition to his writing a handful of individual issues and limited series for Image, DC, Marvel Comics, and TokyoPop. Both creators speak extensively about this book and series in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read about this volume have applauded it. NPR's Etelka Lehoczky gave it praise, "There are all kinds of wonderful plot and character points in Rocket Girl, not to mention the sound effects." Niko Silvester called it "an appealing mix of elements with a definite tongue-in-cheek accent." Paul Fiander wrote, "From a vague beginning Rocket Girl has developed into a fun time traveling romp."

Rocket Girl: Times Squared was published by Image Comics, and they have a preview and much more available here.

No comments:

Post a Comment