The Rocketeer: High Flying Adventures doesn't waste any time in dropping the reader right into the action. We open with Betty rightfully scolding Cliff for being late to rescue her, and Cliff doing what he does best: winging it. The Rocketeer is one of my personal favorite comic book characters. The old-school, beat-'em-up hero and his beautiful Betty Page-inspired girlfriend are timeless. This book includes 24 stories of heroic antics from creative geniuses like Kurt Busiek, Darwyn Cooke, Dave Gibbons, Marc Guggenheim, Walter Simonson, and more.
It's hard for me to pick a favorite story from this one. "Dear Betty" is a wonderful story by Busiek and Michael Wm. Kaluta. Betty — in her nurse costume — gets a letter from Cliff, who's off fighting in the war. Betty herself is dealing with issues back home, mostly in the form of unwanted advances from men and worrying about Cliff. I can't imagine what life was like during WWII. I also can't imagine what it's like to have someone you love off in a war — something that's still very real today.
Judging from the story, Betty is throwing herself into work. And when Cliff's letters stop arriving, a downtrodden Betty still doesn't give up hope. Heck, she even punches a guy in the face. Of course, there's a light at the end of the tunnel — Betty and Cliff get their happy ending, and all is well again in the world.
Kaluta's pencils are stunning. Betty is very realistic and classically beautiful, with careful attention to detail paid to her eyes and lips. In this world, there's no one as beautiful as Betty, and Cliff knows it.
"Betty Saves The Day" by the gone-too-soon Darwyn Cooke is another amazing story that focuses on Betty. When Cliff is knocked out, it's up to Betty to don the Rocketeer getup and get them both out of trouble. Cooke's art style as seen in The Rocketeer: High Flying Adventures is stunning. He knew how to draw a realistic portrayal of a woman, as well as how to craft a compelling action story. His action scenes are dramatic, yet easy to follow.
If you're a fan of The Rocketeer — or just good old classic action stories — this book is worth picking up. IDW has done a solid job with every Rocketeer book they put out, and hopefully the character has grown in popularity as a result. Because if it's one thing the world needs, it's more Rocketeer.