The Outhouse: The Greatest Comic Book Website - For All Your Comics and Entertainment News, Reviews, and Other Insanity

Review: The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction #1

Review: The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction #1

A review of the new IDW miniseries.




Working with artist Paul Smith, Mark Waid’s most recent book, The Rocketeer and the Spirit: Pulp Friction, is a cross-over between two of comics most recognizable pulp heroes. They are an odd team-up. Danny Colt (the Spirit) operates in the dark and gritty streets of Central City while Cliff Secord (the Rocketeer) soars in the bright lights of Hollywood. Danny is from the East coast; Cliff is from the West coast. Danny is serious; Cliff’s a joker. Danny is alert; Cliff is reckless. Mark Waid and Peter Smith use the first issue of the series to explore these differences.

The two are brought together by a murder plot revolving around the 1940s expansion of television. A man killed on the east coast in the Spirit’s Central City washes up on the Hollywood coast where his body is found by Betty, the Rocketeer’s love interest. When the Spirit comes to interview Betty for his investigation, Cliff believes he is a villain trying to hurt her. The Spirit and the Rocketeer have a delightful fight in the sky, exchanging insults and punches. Still, having the two heroes fight at the beginning of a cross-over is a cliché at this point (most recently seen in Batman/Superman #1), but at least in this book the fighting makes sense and feels like just the beginning to the characters’ conflict. In the aftermath of the fight, Betty literally falls for Danny setting up a love triangle that should continue the hostility between the characters.

Paul Smith’s character art is solid, but it really shines when he is drawing setting details. These details help his art emphasizes the differences between the Spirit and the Rocketeer’s universes. He draws Central City with towering skyscrapers and neoclassical architecture. The skies are grey and the ground is snow covered. On the west coast, it is sunny. Smith uses beaches and swimming pools as set pieces to highlight the difference. It would be easy to think the two cities were in different hemispheres due to the drastic weather change. Jordie Bellaire’s always spectacular colors further emphasize the disparity between Hollywood and Central City. She uses blues and grays to color Central City, but opens up her full color pallet for Hollywood. At times, the differences can feel jarring. Nonetheless, the aesthetic mostly works because of the way the art parallels the story which pits the Spirit and Rocketeer as clashing, hesitant allies.

The first issue sets up the character conflicts nicely. Readers will get a good sense of the two titular characters and their relationship. The main flaw in the book is that it was very thin on plot even for a first issue. There are only about four or five pages of plot and they are just set-up. The subtitle “pulp friction” and the focus of the first issue lead me to believe that Waid will make character conflicts the focus of the book. That should work for a cross-over miniseries, but it might feel a bit slow for some readers. Despite its flaws, I enjoyed the book; this is a worthy addition to IDW’s high quality Rocketeer library and rare chance to see the Spirit in action.





The Outhouse is sponsored this week by Late Nite Draw. Recently featured on ComicsAlliances' Best Art Ever, he is a Chicago-based commissioned artist with a self-published Digital+Print one-shot coming out in October about the abominable snowman called ABOBAMANIMABBLE, and is also available for commissions. Check out some amazing art by clicking here or by clicking the banner at the top, and support the people who support The Outhouse.


Enjoy this article? Consider supporting The Outhouse, a fan-run site, on Patreon. Click here for more info.


Help spread the word, loyal readers! Share this story on social media:



Comment without an Outhouse Account using Facebook

We get it. You don't feel like signing up for an Outhouse account, even though it's FREE and EASY! That's okay. You can comment with your Facebook account below and we'll take care of adding it to the stream above. But you really should consider getting a full Outhouse account, which will allow you to quote posts, choose an avatar and sig, and comment on our forums too. If that sounds good to you, sign up for an Outhouse account by clicking here.

Note: while you are welcome to speak your mind freely on any topic, we do ask that you keep discussion civil between each other. Nasty personal attacks against other commenters is strongly discouraged. Thanks!
Help spread the word, loyal readers! Share this story on social media:

About the Author - ThanosCopter


ThanosCopter is a specially designed helicopter built to transport Thanos the Mad Titan. Built by Sterling Custom Helicopters, ThanosCopter appeared in several Marvel comics, before being abandoned by its owner during the character's ascension into major villainy. ThanosCopter was discovered by the Outhouse and given a second chance at life. He now buzzes merrily around the comic book industry, spreading snark, satire and humor like candy to small children.
 

 


More articles from ThanosCopter