A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City. Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time. As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2014 – shouldn’t exist at all!
I love it when a book is so unexpectedly awesome.
So this is me, as I’m reading this book: Okay, time traveling cop, Timecop/Continuum style, with an evil corporation to boot – kinda feel like I’ve seen it all before; but the art is cool, so why not… (Flips a few pages.) Oh hey, Dayoung is brash and ballsy, I am liking this… (Flips a few more pages.) Retro New York! Rocketeer-style battles! Evil plotting! Time continuity! Dude, this is AWESOME.
So as you can probably guess, I seriously dug Rocket Girl. Equal parts nostalgic adventure, with its 80’s New York verve and flare, and fun sci-fi adventure, with corporate politics and jet-pack action galore, there really is nothing not to like here. The blend of old but new, familiar but fresh, is downright irresistible – I particularly loved how the flight maneuvers somehow felt old school (seriously, think The Rocketeer) but futuristic all at the same time – but most of all, I just loved Dayoung as a character. I loved her brash determination that often slid into downright rudeness; how nothing about her was sexualized or objectified (THANK you, Amy Reeder), and the juxtaposition of her age and experience – how her youth warred with her grim sense of responsible authority; how her realism went hand in hand with her somewhat naive belief in what is right. She is the perfect blend of jaded and innocent, of teenager and veteran cop – and I really, really liked how she was good at her job, but still somewhat blind to the larger games at play around her (because after all, she is only a kid). An old hand and fresh face, wrapped into one. Plus the fact that a teenage girl gets to be balls-out competent, outspoken, impolite, un-retiring, stubborn and opinionated, is just…freaking awesome. I mean really, how often does a teen girl get that kind of story? A story where she gets to take charge and still make mistakes, gets to kick ass and screw up and just all in all be a person AND a girl AND a teen? And that, that is what made this book so very fun to read.
And as I alluded before, let me say again – I really, really enjoyed the art of this story. Amy Reeder’s work is bombastic and emotional, all at the same time – and just, fun. There’s a lot going on in these pages, from the large to the small; from Dayoung’s many scowls to her aerial acrobatics, but it all irresistibly drew my eye. And the character nuance Reeder brings to Dayoung is, I think, a large part of why this story works so very well. There’s a lot going on here, and Reeder pulls it all off with panache – so I guess you could say I just like Reeder’s style.
So yes, read this. Because while it may sound vaguely like a story you’ve read before, trust me, it’s not – even the oldest story in the book can be made new again, with the right execution; and the execution of this book is just superb.
And oh, I can’t wait to see what happens next…
Byrt Grade: A
As Levar Burton likes to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…
With its verve, underplayed humor and electric visuals, Rocket Girl #1 is one of the strongest debuts of the 2013. Here’s hoping that future issues have the same light-handed execution and effervescent atmosphere.
Time-travel, rockets, and criminal intrigue make for a great high concept, and so far, Rocket Girl is poised to be a unique and entertaining series. Eighties nostalgia and future tech combine quite well as the backdrop for an adventure story, and DaYoung’s arc is off to a very interesting start.