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Is It Good? The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction #1 Review

A cross-company team-up is something you seldom happen upon, especially after the mess that was the Marvel/DC crossover back in the ’80s. It is also exceedingly rare to find a major company like DC cooperating with an indie publisher. This book has a very different vibe than most comics on the shelves these days. While the title includes two superheroes, it is not in fact your traditional superhero comic. It’s different, but is it good?

Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction (IDW Publishing/DC Comics)

Not surprisingly, this #1 requires no previous knowledge of either of the characters. I didn’t know who Rocketeer was until picking up this comic; and I’ve only read one Spirit comic so I’m pretty new to him as well.

The issue starts off with a pretty heated debate between a few politicians. It can be quite irritating when authors throw lots of names at you at once so I had a pretty vague idea about who was on which side of the debate. Fortunately, only one of the characters makes an appearance later in the issue.

Foreshadowing much?

Needless to say, that guy’s dead by page 3. The mystery of the death is what brings The Spirit out to Hollywood. Once in Hollywood, The Spirit has his first encounter with Rocketeer. It turns out they are both trying to accomplish the same goal: unraveling the mystery of the recent death politician. They are two very different men; The Spirit is a much more Batman-like personality, sort of sulky and brooding. Rocketeer is a more determined, focused guy. They are both sort of goofy at heart, however, which makes them fun to see together.

Turning to the critical points, I thought the writing was great. Mark Waid delivers solid dialogue that is easy to follow (save the first scene) and still sounds natural. It is definitely hard to write in the style of early 1940s speech but he manages nicely. The way he constructs all of the mysterious elements of the story and crafts the plot is well-done and is most definitely intriguing. He is crafting a nice murder mystery with themes of love, betrayal, and freedom. It is definitely a story that has been done before, but it is very different with the incorporation of superheroes.

This is both an a great example of the way Mark Waid uses language and how he delivers the plot.

The art is definitely of a specific style. It is nothing special, but it looks both polished and fits the story nicely. The inks are what gives Paul Smith’s art the old-fashioned feel, but the pencils are also solid throughout. There are only a few faces that look a touch strange and other small art oopsies, but really nothing serious.


  • Fast paced, intriguing mystery
  • Smooth dialogue and action sequences
  • Art works but isn’t great
  • Nothing mind-blowing or out of the ordinary yet

This issue is definitely a good way to start the series and obviously gets the story rolling right away. The only thing I wasn’t impressed was the scope of the project. It doesn’t seem too ambitious or ground-breaking.

Is It Good?

Yeah. I would eagerly pick up the second issue. A fun read that a variety of audiences can enjoy.


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