The Rocketeer, courageous flyer for the cause of freedom, is in reality Cliff Secord, humble stunt pilot. As The Rocketeer, Cliff fights against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan during WWII. Cliff’s lady love, the beautiful actress and model Betty, is his constant companion through his hair-raising adventures.
The Treasury Edition collects nine stories that follow Cliff in his adventures from Europe and the Pacific to the streets of Los Angeles and the corn fields of Kansas. Without giving too much away, some of the stand out stories include the following: “Dear Betty” by Busiek, in which Betty wards off the advances of her Broadway producer while she awaits each letter from Cliff on the battlefront; “TKO” by Lowell Francis, in which the Rocketeer faces an evil rocket man over the night skies of LA while below a boxing match sportscaster narrates every blow; “The Good Guys” by Marc Guggenheim, in which Cliff crashes in a small town and forces the troubled folk to decide what to do with a vigilante; “A Dream of Flying” by Stan Sakai, in which the Rocketeer awakens a future superhero to his love of flying; “Work to Do” by Tom Taylor, in which The Rocketeer reconnects with the common, yet extraordinary, American GIs; and “Betty Saves the Day” by Cooke, in which Cliff and Betty’s narrow escape from a runaway train is narrated like a classic movie serial episode.
For a man like myself who spends his free time listening to classic radio serials and kicking back to films from the Golden Age, I can’t help by smile while reading these stories. What’s amazing is the difference between each artist's style. For a character so ingrained in a particular era of history and entertainment, the artists bring such a broad spectrum of styles to each story. Michael Kaluta illustrates like he’s creating a picture postcard from 1938 Hollywood. Sandy Plunkett sketches in a 1970s Jack Kirby fashion. J Bone and Dave Stewart draw in a Saturday morning cartoon style. Gene Ha and Colin Wilson create gritty, shadowy, realistic fight scenes. No one is trapped in the art deco or Norman Rockwell mode. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you like nostalgic adventure and romance, you might dig Rocketeer Adventures: Treasury Edition.