Review - Rocket Girl #1

"I'm 15 years old and a cop from the future."

Future cops tend to be male, strong and well-versed in martial arts of some sort. They're not typically 15-year-old girls who offer flippant witticisms in the face of authority. In the case of Rocket Girl #1 from Image Comics, that's exactly what they are though. They do have the martial arts acumen though!

The first issue is written by Brandon Montclare and illustrated by Amy Reeder.

Dayoung Johansson has a bone to pick with Quintim Mechanics, a mega-corporation who she views as evil. This, despite the fact that the company has turned New York City (and Times Square) in 2013 into a place full of hover cars, bright lights and all the trappings of the not too distant future. Dayoung's convinced though that Quintim has manipulated the timestream for their own nefarious gains, prompting her to travel back in time to 1986 to stop them. Oh and Dayoung is a 15-year-old cop from the future, so there's that.

Montclare definitely gets points for originality in terms of the overarching story. Setting the present in an alternate timeline future offers a new perspective, punctuated by Dayoung's age and position. It seems that in this world, all cops are teenagers; teenagers who decide to serve justice instead of hang out at the mall. There are a few problems in the script though, mostly around pacing. The story jumps back and forth between the two eras and the readers isn't really given any more backstory into why teenagers are cops and what Dayoung has specifically against Quintim. It's possible that future issues will explore these things a bit more, but as a first issue, it leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

Reeder's art explodes off the page, appropriately capturing New York City at night. She showcases Rocket Girl in some pretty heroic poses, all of which really stress the fact that clearly Dayoung is more than capable of her role as an officer of the law despite her age. She uses a lot of perspective shots (primarily top down) that give the reader a sense of what it would be like to fly with Rocket Girl for instance. Another shot is from the perspective of a camera observing a conversation, which gives the reader a further glimpse into the "new" 2013. The illustrations feel very clean and well-defined, infusing the tale with the vibrancy of the 80s.

A first issue has a lot to take care of and Rocket Girl #1 does that for the most part. The premise is intriguing and the art is dazzling, but there are some story hiccups that slightly hinder character development. Still though, the work is pretty refreshing and offers a different take on the rapidly emerging "teens in trouble" dynamic that's marching through media. The book feels more like Ender's Game than Hunger Games though and hopefully Montclare gives more time for Dayoung to develop as a character so the reader can better understand her plight. It's a good start to what could potentially be an even crazier story.

Rocket Girl #1 is in stores now with interiors below.