Written by David Lapham, Kyle Baker, Matt Wagner
Art by Chris Sprouse/Karl Story, Kyle Baker, Eric Canete
Release Date: June 6, 2012

There is something so simple about Rocketeer as a character that makes him well suited for short story anthology. This issue brings another mixed bag of creators telling radically different stories from the tiny little Rocketeer universe.

First up is Lapham, Sprouse and Story with a love story of Cliff and his miss-matched girlfriend, Betty. Picking up after the events of Cliff’s New York Adventure (which I just read in the spectacular IDW collection), “Coulda Been…” is a well-structured and believable chapter in the struggle Cliff has trying to keep his place in Betty’s life. Lapham has a very good feel for the characters and their voices. Sprouse’s Betty is a bit more down to earth than Stevens’ bombshell, but that serves to make the story even more bittersweet.

Kyle Baker’s “Butchy Saves Betty” is a fluffy piece focused on the infamous bulldog. Set up as an old-style movie serial (episode 17 to be precise), it’s a silly tale that you wish was a preview of a whole graphic novel. Baker’s style is perfect for Butch to shine as the hero while everyone else is dramatically exaggerated. There are panels in this story that should give a good giggle to dog lovers.

“History Lesson” by Wagner and Canete is the oddest of the set. Told almost entirely in beautiful full-page montages, it is a great introduction to a character you’ve been reading for two stories already. If they shuffle the stories in the collection, it would a sensible decision to put this one first in it. Canete’s art is very good, though there isn’t a lot to challenge him as far as story-telling. Look at this one for the great pictures, but don’t look for a lot of depth.

The Verdict: 7.0/10

Keith is the co-host of the podcast We Talk Comics


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