Rocket to the Crypt

The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction: written by Mark Waid; illustrated by Paul Smith, Loston Wallace, and J. Bone (2013): The only real disappointment with this early 1940’s crossover between the L.A.’s Rocketeer and Central City’s The Spirit is that classic X-Men, Dr. Strange, and Nexus artist Paul Smith only ended up drawing one issue before bowing out. Loston Wallace picks up the baton admirably in issue 2 — Dynamite should look at putting him on one of their pulp-hero titles, as his style works very well with retro-action — and J. Bone finishes up on issues 3 and 4 in his pleasingly exaggerated, cartoony style.

Mark Waid’s writing here is excellent, as it has been throughout his work on the resurrected Rocketeer comics. He’d also be a good pick for some pulp heroes over at Dynamite. One of the interesting things that Waid portrays throughout is that the Rocketeer, while a character 40 years younger than the Spirit in reality, is in the chronology of the two heroes the one who’s been doing super-heroing for a longer time when they meet. That superheroing experience doesn’t stop the Rocketeer from bring freaked out that the Spirit lives in a crypt within a cemetery, however.

The initial ‘hook’ riffs on either the beginning of Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid or on the first chapter of a Doc Savage novel from the 1930’s, Devil on the Moon — take your pick — but the destination is much different. Waid also gets a lot of comic mileage out of the byplay among the supporting characters of the two heroes, along with one perfectly understandable reaction to wearing a heavy metallic Rocketeer helmet inside for too long. In all, an enjoyable romp. Recommended.

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