Review - Rocket Salvage #1

"I always knew I was destined for greatness, Dr. Utzman. This ain't luck. It's pure skill."

Life as a space racer is all glitz and glamour when you're winning. When you're not winning, things get a little less exciting for the loser. Life goes on regardless and things have to be done to live that life, including running something like a salvage yard. In Rocket Salvage #1 from Archaia, that's just what Primo Rocket is forced to endure. The issue is written by Yehudi Mercado, illustrated by Bachan, colored by Jeremy Lawson and lettered by Deron Bennett.

Primo Rocket used to be the fastest speeder-racer in the galaxy, but after a crash that sealed the fate of his space-station-city home, Rio Rojo, Primo has resigned himself to life as a lowly spaceship salvage yard owner. However, his two “kids”—harvest clone Beta and Beta’s genius girl-clone Zeta—can’t seem to keep out of trouble. When the dysfunctional family suddenly becomes the target of an intergalactic manhunt, the family has to come together to save their home.

For a book rife with mobsters, vendettas and immense pride, Mercado manages to make Rocket Salvage #1 feel a lot friendlier than the characters let on. Primo is the definition of fall from grace and it's made very clear in the first issue, but Mercado leaves a lot of the details surrounding that fall somewhat murky. It's a very effective way of allowing the story to unfold methodically, as opposed to cramming an excess of backstory in the first issue. There's also a lot of characters here, all of whom are "introduced" to the reader via dialogue boxes that gives decent background information for them. It's a little overwhelming at first, but it does help get the reader up to speed so they know better what's going on.

Rio Rojo has fallen on hard times and Bachan does a great job capturing that despair. Dilapidated buildings look down on streets littered with abandoned/wrecked cars and general piles of trash, all of which creates a great parallel with Primo's fall from stature. Bachan uses very sharp angles that are emboldened by some pages which seem to boast a convex lens filter. Both geometrical influences give the book a very distinct book and keeps it grounded in the science fiction setting that it is. Lawson's colors also imbue the book with the sense of a future that's diverse and boasts a wide variety of unique individuals.

Rocket Salvage #1 is a very enjoyable first issue that blends together a good mix of science-fiction and intrigue. Primo is a down-on-his-luck former superstar racer with a few secrets of his own, some or all of which are preparing to reveal themselves and make his life a lot more difficult. Mercado blends characters whose looks boast optimism despite the pessimism that's pervasive throughout Rio Rojo, giving the book a unique look that hammers home the setting. Rocket Salvage #1 is a great first issue that lays the groundwork for an intriguing next few issues as readers explore the past of Primo Rocket; one that he seems keen on keeping quiet.

Rocket Salvage #1 is in stores December 17 with interiors below.