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Review: Rocket Girl #8

RocketGirl8CoverIt’s been quite a while, but Rocket Girl is back with sharp, emotional plotting from writer Brandon Montclare and some of the best layouts and cartooning in the game from artist Amy Reeder. In issue 8, Dayoung Johansson, a teen cop from the future who is stranded in “the present” 1986, is trying to stop the evil corporation, Quintum Mechanics from ending the world. Commissioner Gomez and a couple other ex-teen cops are trying to do the same thing in the “past” of 2013. Dayoung might have a super cool jetpack and rocket suit that is perfect for beating up criminals in video arcades, but she and her fellow youthful, idealist counterparts are in way over their head.

Instead of boring us with pop physics or exposition, Montclare and Reeder advance the story through action set-pieces and tense conversations. There is the aforementioned cold open where Reeder busts out a double page spread of Dayoung beating up a bad guy in an arcade with the bright colors of the old school video games playing off the dark night and a police force that has deal with its present day corruption problems as well as people from Quintum joining their ranks. Reeder can do the flashy fight scenes with costumes, flying, and punches, but she can do subtle too like when Dayoung (in her civilian outfit) tails Dunn, a Quintum employee, who has infiltrated NYPD, has access to future tech, and is her main antagonist going forward. There are tons of details in her crowds and fire escapes, and Dayoung is just another teen girl in the sentient crowd that is New York.

What keeps me returning to Rocket Girl other than Amy Reeder’s skillful layouts, choreography, and color palettes is the passion of the main and supporting characters. They’re up against a literal monolithic future corporation with the power to change time and historical events and yet they fight on. Brandon Montclare gives DaYoung some narrative captions while she’s flying about how she thinks she can bring justice to New York all by herself, but in a moment of character growth, she decides to work with Annie and the former Quintum Mechanics employees to take them down. The scientists want her to be calm and collected; but DaYoung knows the stakes are high, and her big Reeder-drawn facial expressions show how urgent it is for her to take Quintum down. She has no time for technobabble, and that is why she spends most of her time kicking, punching, or flying.

Rocket Girl #8 has plenty of action, and Amy Reeder cuts loose with beautiful, streamlined flying sequences and intense argument. Dayoung belongs in a utopian future, but is stuck in our crappy past. Brandon Montclare and Reeder really build up the overarching threat of Quintum Mechanics in the issue and set up a difficult time-spanning, uphill climb of a throwdown for Dayoung, Gomez, and their allies.

Story: Brandon Montclare Art: Amy Reeder
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy 

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review