Rocket Girl #1 is a Saturday morning cartoon you wish was on television.
Montclare and Reeder deliver an action-packed time-traveling mystery with a fun plot supported by gorgeous art.
Acting on the tip of a seemingly reliable informant within megacorporation Quintum Mechanics, 15-year-old detective Dayoung Johansson of the New York Teen Police Department is convinced that the company’s unprecedented technological advances occurred by traveling back in time and altering events in its favor. She makes a compelling argument to her police commissioner—who is so young himself that he can’t quite grow the moustache he’s attempting—and is given permission to go back to 1986 to track down the offenders.
If Dayoung can navigate the 1980s, she can save the present. But is it worth saving? Is her present supposed to exist at all? Rocket Girl challenges its high-flying teenage time cop to brave the strange 1986 Manhattan landscape of piano ties, feathered haircuts, and leggings to prevent the Q-engine from creating a future that should never be.
Writer Brandon Montclare (Halloween Eve) establishes concurrent timelines and keeps both stories interesting as we learn who the players are on both sides of the unfolding chess match. It’s apparent that Professor Sharma is going to follow his own agenda, whatever that may be, and we have likely discovered the Moriarty to Dayoung’s Holmes. Amy Reeder’s (Madame Xanadu, Batwoman, Fool’s Gold) art style displays characteristics of manga, classic film animation, and something all her own that makes Dayoung at once authoritative, vulnerable, and endearing.
In a June 2013 interview with The Comic Archive, Reeder and Montclare shed some light on their collaboration. From the hair and clothes to the police lights adorning Dayoung’s uniform, details are given a high priority in this book. (Did you catch the nod to The Dark Knight Returns?) “It’s definitely the coolest thing I’ve gotten to draw ever,” Reeder said. And Reeder is a fan of the 1980s, so Montclare knew he had settled on the right time frame. “As a writer you want to do something that Amy will be strong in,” Montclare said. Because she is responsible for all facets of the artwork (pencils, inks, colors, and letters) Amy worked closely with Brandon to get the feel of the book where they wanted it. “We’re pretty collaborative with the story.” The flying cars and orderly streets of Dayoung’s 2013 are representative of what 1980s kids imagined were coming—but they never arrived. “The reason we’re using this time specifically is because times have changed so much since then, but they’ve changed in a completely different way,” Reeder said.
Image has a well-deserved hit on its hands. Enjoy!
Brandon Montclare (W), Amy Reeder (A) • Image Comics, $3.50, October 9, 2013