Sometimes, it’s pretty easy to tell why certain creators took on a particular project. Take Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, still tearing it up on Marvel’s “Daredevil,” and their take on Dave Stevens’ creation “The Rocketeer.” Inspired by the pulp fiction heroes of the 30’s and 40’s (as well as Bettie Page), Stevens had can’t-catch-a-break pilot Cliff Secord getting his hands on an experimental rocket pack and becoming the crime-fighting hero known as the Rocketeer. Waid and Samnee don’t mess with that setup, or the supporting cast of cantankerous mechanic Peevy and Cliff’s long-suffering girlfriend Betty, and are clearly happy to be playing around in this particular toybox. Not only does it give them a chance to tell an uncomplicated tale of straightforward heroism, but one that also involves dinosaurs (sometimes with jetpacks)!
While Cliff is dealing with the ramifications of an FAA inspector’s investigation, a ship pulls into the L.A. harbor with a unique cargo. After hearing about this mysterious Rocketeer person, the fancy-dressed man who is overseeing the shipment figures that his rocket would make a great addition to his plans. The cargo hails from Skull Island -- home of King Kong -- so this winds up being a bit of a pulp crossover as the island’s other inhabitants get to take a bite out of L.A. and Cliff winds up getting to take a bite back thanks to interesting tech that was being shipped over along with them. (If you thought this book’s title was kidding…) The whole thing is a fast-paced and downright gleeful romp that is well aware of the ridiculousness of its “The Rocketeer Vs. Dinosaurs in L.A.” setup and embraces it wholeheartedly. It’s clear that Waid and Samnee were having a ball with this idea and the sense of fun is infectious.
I’d have no problem recommending this to fans of the character and the creators of this story, save for the fact that it’s an 88-page story padded out with some of Samnee’s layouts with a cover price of $25. In the interests of full disclosure, I found this for half of that price at Comic-Con. This is an entertaining comic, but you’ll have to decide for yourself whether you’re enough of a fan of Waid, Samnee, or the Rocketeer himself to fork over that much cash for it..