The retro story The Rocketeer at War is set in England. It’s 1942, the height of WWII, and the US Air Force continues to test out its Rocketeer jetpack, hoping to create an army of flying men. Then private Cliff Secord is pulled into the story after rescuing the comely pilot Roxy and thwarting a Nazi attack on one of the American bases. But this is WWII and the Nazis have their own secret army of flying men they’re trying to build, an army that will let the Third Reich spread across the planet and win the war.
But mild mannered Cliff Secord has a secret: He is the original Rocketeer, and when his country asks him to resume his efforts on behalf of the Air Force, how can he say no? That his girl back home has signed up for the Women’s Army Corps (the “WAC”) is just a coincidence. He’s suiting up and back in the air, attacking the Axis powers both Japanese and German, while zipping and swooping like a bird. A bird with a machine gun.
Of course the Rocketeer suit doesn’t work very well under water, which proves to be an issue. On the bright side, his hallucinations while running out of oxygen are at least entertaining. Problem is, when his WAC girlfriend Betty is kidnapped by the Nazi regime, Cliff is put in a bind because the last thing he’s going to do is put her life at risk. But he’s a patriot and certainly isn’t going to choose anything where the Axis might get the upper hand in the war!
Fortunately he’s already dragooned some of his old Rocketeering chums from back the good ole US of A and together they might just come up with a solution that has Betty rescued, the Allies on top and the hated Nazis finding out that you just don’t mess with the US Air Force. No sirree.
If you’re a fan of retro 40’s comics and stories, there’s a lot to really enjoy in The Rocketeer At War. It’s clear that artist Dave Bullock and writer Marc Guggenheim have done their homework with vehicles, fashions, even the weapons of WWII and the major battles (the action ranges all over the globe as the story unfolds), showing a deft nostalgic touch while remembering to keep story front and center. Turns out, this is your father’s comic book. And that’s a good thing.
The Rocketeer At War, collecting issues #1 thru #4. Written by Marc Guggenheim, art by Dave Bullock, colors by Ronda Pattison, letters by Gilberto Lazcano, edited by Scott Dunbier. Published by IDW Dec 2015 thru April 2016.