I’d be rocketing through my dreams

rocket girl vol 1Rocket Girl Vol.1: Times Squared
by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder

This was on the staff recommends shelf at Midtown Comics in New York, and I do like a good staff recommendation. Plus the artist is female, and I was on the hunt for some female representation on our comic shelves.

Rocket Girl has a fairly complex plot, which I suspect will get easier to follow in later volumes, although maybe not. DaYoung Johansson is a detective in the New York Teen Police Department in an alternate-reality 2013 who is sent back in time to 1986 to investigate shadowy but all-powerful Quintum Mechanics for “crimes against time”. There’s some twisty time-loop who-did-what-when stuff going on and some action-adventure chase sequences, but what I found more interesting was the culture clash DaYoung faces.

“I get to fly. It’s why I joined the NYTPD. I used to lay in my bed thinking all about it, trying to make sure that when I fell asleep I’d be rocketing through my dreams. Force it. Focus. Fantasize real hard and hope when your eyes shut you don’t know the difference. It usually didn’t work.”

DaYoung comes from a hi-tech future where adults are trusted by no-one, hence the teen police department, and is used to being professional and authoritative. So she is bewildered by 1986, where she is treated like, well, a 15-year-old.

Also, she brought her jet pack and flying suit, plus a few other gizmos, back from the future and needs to keep them out of the hands of Quintum Mechanics. But this apparent black-and-white teen cop good, giant corporation bad situation isn’t actually that straightforward. The Quintum Mechanics of 1986 is staffed by likeable clever scientists who are doing research that they love and believe in, some of whom befriend DaYoung.

” ‘These things don’t have brakes.’ That’s the first thing they teach you at NYTPD Flight School. How to take off is the second. Potential. That’s the weight of the world, and you hold it like a coiled spring. Who you’re going to be. What you’re going to do. And every time you take flight, where are you going to go? Where will I end up…”

I really liked the art style, which is a little manga-esque (pointy hair, big eyes, bold colours) and I liked the characters, though I can’t stay they’ve stayed with me even a few days later. The text is sometimes simplistic, but that might just be DaYoung, who is after all an earnest youth spouting clich├ęs as if they’re profound.

Overall it’s a fun adventure and I am intrigued whether it continues this pace of all-stuff-all-happening or if it settles into a single, more familiar, mode.

Published 2014 by Image Comics.

Source: Midtown Comics, NYC.