"Rocket Salvage #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Yehudi Mercado
Illustrated by Bachan
2014, 32 Pages
Comic released on December 17th, 2014
Remember the Star Wars prequels? I know you do. No one likes to remember them, but it's tough to forget such a huge disappointment. It's easy to pick on them, however there were a few cool elements from the films. Although it felt like a video game, I always thought the pod racing in The Phantom Menace was kind of cool. Sure, it served no real purpose in the story, but it was a bit of fun. OK, now that you're thinking of that, imagine the pod racing bit mixed with actual good science fiction. That's sort of where we're at with Rocket Salvage, but there's a lot more to go on. I'm definitely not giving the book justice.
The comic starts off in the past, showing the top racer on Rio Rojo, Primo Rocket, on the verge of breaking all kinds of records. That was then. Now he's a washed up salvage man with two kids. Something happened back then that destroyed the racing industry and Primo was responsible. We don't know what, but it seemed pretty bad. He's scraping by, dealing with some mobsters and trying to stay out of trouble which is easier said than done.
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This element is immediately intriguing. There's a big juxtaposition between the confident rock star of a racer in the past and the out-of-shape Primo of the present. What could have happened to change his life so drastically? And where did these kids come from? There are hints to those answers in the form of cloning. How and why he has these younger clones of himself is not currently known, but he's raising them as his kids and he hasn't shared the identify of their mother.
The world that writer Yehudi Mercado has crafted can stand toe-to-toe with the titans of the science fiction genre. It's vast with a lot of moving elements. The main conflict seems to be between the Galactic Republic and the Republic of Galaxies. Yes, those are the real names. They're ridiculous but fun. The former is filled up with monsters while the latter consists of robots, and humans are somewhere in the middle, forced to choose a side. I'm actually hoping that this comic comes down to a war between monsters and robots because that would be awesome.
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Bachan's artwork is top notch and a perfect fit for this genre. There are back-to-back double-page spreads showing the same spot, but fifteen years apart. The first is bright and vibrant, showing the beginning of a race where everyone is full of hope and life. The second is rundown and falling apart, held together with spit and a prayer. This filth spreads through the entirety of Rio Rojo, covering nearly everything. Although this is far from the ideal future we imagine today, there's still a level of adventure at work in Bachan's pencils. This isn't a dystopian society. It's just a little off the beaten path.
This is a dynamite first issue that gives you a great quick primer on a brand new universe. There's no time wasted on exposition or character backgrounds. Mercado gets right into the meat of the story and doesn't look back. Rocket Salvage has the makings of a great sci-fi adventure.