Comic Reviews: The Rocketeer/Spirit and Superior Spider-Man Team-Up!
IDW’s Rocketeer books continue this month, but with a twist: this mini series features Cliff Secord’s first ever intercompany crossover, teaming him with DC Comics’ The Spirit. Pairing these two pulp heroes together is a no brainer, and when it’s written by the incredible Mark Waid, it becomes a must buy.
Waid wastes no time getting the story going. A mysterious death has brought The Spirit and his allies to Los Angeles, and Cliff’s girlfriend Betty, who discovered the body on the beach during a photo shoot, is one of the key witnesses. When Peevy overhears The Spirit mention Betty’s name, he races over to tell Cliff, who naturally grabs his gear and takes the fight to him.
One of the key things that makes this first issue work is its simplicity. Like I said before, there isn’t a lot of time spent catching us up on the Rocketeer or the Spirit. Waid simply comes up with a reason for them to cross paths and has fun putting them together. At no point does this team-up seem forced or a cash grab, and many of Waid’s choices (like having The Spirit’s plane land in Peevy’s airport) make it seem like The Spirit and The Rocketeer have been living in the same shared universe since when they were first created.
Artist Paul Smith’s style is in line with the previous Rocketeer IDW artists. I really appreciate that IDW has created a unique “retro” style for the Rocketeer, from Chris Samnee, to J. Bone, to now Paul Smith. Much like Waid’s script really sells the idea that The Spirit and The Rocketeer have been in the same world for decades, Smith’s style makes sure that they both fit together stylistically as well. At no point does it appear that The Spirit is being re-designed to fit into The Rocketeer’s style, and vice versa.
The Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction is an excellent team-up comic that reminds me of the DC/Marvel team-ups of my youth. Watching these two characters play off one another is really fun, and even if you aren’t familiar with the characters you can still enjoy it. I have a very basic knowledge of The Spirit, but had no trouble figuring out who he is and what he represents to the people around him. I can’t wait for the next issue, and who knows, maybe this will lead to a Rocketeer Meets Captain America comic…
Avenging Spider-Man is dead. Long live Superior Spider-Man Team-Up!
Yes, Otto Octavius is getting yet another title, but you shouldn’t be too discouraged that he’ll start to become overexposed. In many ways, Superior Team-Up is more a continuation of the previous series than a brand new start, as writer Chris Yost keeps the same back-story he was seeding in Avenging Spider-man. While I think this is great, as I’m extremely intrigued with Otto’s plan for his former Sinister Six team mates, it would be extremely confusing for those picking this issue up because it’s a new “#1”. However, those picking this up because they were following Avenging will likely be turned off because of the pages spent filling in the potential new reader. It’s an unfortunate place for this book to be in, as Yost’s plot is a fun done-in-one that really plays on your expectations of Otto inhabiting Spider-Man’s body.
The art by David Lopez is great. Lopez is another carry over from Avenging Spider-man, and it’s nice to see him get to continue working on this character. For the most part his action scenes and characters look great, but there is a strange bit in the middle where some faces look a little weird.
As fun as Superior Spider-Man Team-Up ‘s first issue is, I can’t say I would’ve enjoyed it if I hadn’t been following Avenging Spider-Man before it. In a lot of ways, Marvel should’ve just kept this as Avenging instead of renumbering, but then again, the 23rd issue of a series doesn’t sell quite as well as the 1st issue of a series.