Ever bought something off a menu simply because it looks amazing, only for the first bite to not live up to expectations? That’s Rocket Girl in a nutshell. The new time travel series by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder proves a fun, if imperfect debut that doesn’t quite live up to its promise.
Rocket Girl takes the “time cop from the future” gag and gives it a fun twist by making the time cop a fifteen-year-old! That’s right folks, in the future kids are working younger than ever, preserving both the law and the time stream at an age when most of us were working at Wendy’s. Sent back in time to investigate some shady dealings by future corp Quintum Mechanics, Detective Dayoung Johansson of the NYTPD arrives just in time for…well, not much. Montclare drops us right in the action, but so far it isn’t too clear what the action is. We know that Quintum Mechanics is shady (or rather that Dayoung thinks they are), but it isn’t quite clear what kind of investigating Dayoung has been sent back to do. This makes any real conflict hard to discern, as this first issue seems to be on a trajectory that we readers aren’t yet privy to.
That being said, there’s still much to enjoy. Montclare does a nice job giving Dayoung a unique voice. Though only fifteen, she has oodles of self confidence and seems hardly perturbed by her new, antiquated surroundings. Montclare’s script is similarly upbeat, his version of 2013 a bit more advanced then we may be used to. There are some really fun moments with Dayoung, but while some characters, like the two inept policemen, have their moments, by and large they fade into the background of whatever Dayoung is doing. And unfortunately, that again proves the crux of Rocket Girl – we don’t yet know enough to care. Dayoung is an infinitely likable character, but until we get more information and back story we’re left resigned to wait for the other shoe to drop. It’s obvious Montclare has more going on than we’ve seen so far, so here’s hoping he gets to it, fast!
For my money (and it was my money), the main draw of the book comes from the art. Amy Reeder’s work is imbued with such life and energy that the action seems to blast off the page, much like a propulsion device of some sort. Her character work, particularly with Dayoung, is fantastic, the teen’s acute physicality and vibrant personality well realized. Reeder shows a real knack for scripting as well, as even the most mundane moments have enough quirk to keep them visually arresting. Speaking of visually arresting, those future fifteen-year-olds sure know how to fight! Reeder’s action sequences are a joy, her dramatic use of angles and body positioning well keyed to Dayoung’s youthful exuberance. Her coloring is also top notch, though I think a different palette from past to future would have given further clarity to the jumps in time. Reeder gives Rocket Girl a much needed jolt, and once Montclare’s script starts humming I bet the series will rocket to the top of the charts.
All in all, Rocket Girl is a good comic that feels like it should be great. Montclare and Reeder have laid the groundwork here in this first issue, so here’s hoping we’ll soon be getting the payoff. Now can we start talking the Rocket Raccoon team up?