Rocket Girl, Vol 1: Times Squared
Review Spoilers: Low
When I described the concept of Rocket Girl to a friend of mine after reading the first issue off of Comixology, I got laughed at. It wasn’t really THAT surprising. The concept is strange. A teen cop from an alternate 2013 travels back to 1986 to stop corruption. It’s kind of silly as an elevator pitch.
However, the actual comic itself makes my inner 10-year-old and my outer 24-year-old squeal with delight.
Rocket Girl is centered around DaYoung Johansson, a 15-year-old member of the New York Teen Police Department from a 2013 where Quintum Mechanics has taken over. Despite cleaning up New York from what it used to be the moment the corporation came to fruition, DaYoung decides to go back in time to stop the company from rising to power and to stop their corruption at the source.
Of course, this means a one way trip for a girl with a technically advanced rocket pack into 1986 into the laps of scientists at the forefront of Quintum’s rise to power. And that’s the easy part of her journey.
From there, Rocket Girl jumps between DaYoung’s story in “the present” and her story in “the past” of the events that lead her to jumping through time to save the world. In 1986, she sticks out like a sore thumb with her jetpack and advanced police tech. She’s also the immediate pain in the ass of Annie, a pink haired scientist working on her PhD with Quintum. Not because Annie is some evil genius villain or anything. She just ends up looking after the righteous DaYoung by default.
Probably the best thing about Rocket Girl is that everything about it feels like something I would have read or even watched as a kid. While the concept is over the top, Brandon Montclare strikes such an amazing balance of fun and seriousness that the story never feels overly kitschy or exploitative. He makes you believe DaYoung’s distrust of adults and her strong belief in her mission. You can believe that a girl can fly and that the scientists working for Quintum in 1986 don’t even know the extent of how deep their influence runs.
What really takes my breath away for this comic though is Amy Reeder’s artwork. I had been passingly familiar with her during her brief stint on Batwoman, but everything about her art here is to die for. The characters are so expressive, the colors so vibrant, and the motion between panels so fluid that it’s not hard to imagine this world coming to life. My perfect world now includes an animated series based on Rocket Girl that does complete justice to all the work Reeder has breathed into the pages.
As I said before, my inner 10-year-old squealed with delight reading this series. If Rocket Girl had existed when I was that age, you bet I would have been pretending to be DaYoung on the playground.
Final Thoughts: Smart, vibrant, diverse and just plain fun, Rocket Girl is a great example of the kind of comics coming out of Image right now. The second arc starts in October and I cannot wait to see what happens next.