Oh hi, you’re probably wondering what I’m doing posting a review for an old issue of a comic. You see, I’ve decided that it’s time to save all of my reviews from my time at PopOptiq from the website that is just a hollow shell of its former self. Y’see, when the website changed EICs a little more than a year ago, the new editor decided he wanted to make the website more like Buzzfeed and then proceeded to fire most of the staff. He then also claimed copyright ownership of our work.
Well, I know I never signed a contract with you or the previous EIC that said that was okay and my name is on the byline, so…
Written by Brandon Montclare
Art by Amy Reeder
Published by Image Comics
Oh Rocket Girl, how we have missed you between issues.
Leaving up where issue 6 left off, Dayoung is confronting Annie about where she placed the jetpack, further continuing their argument from the last issue about who actually knows best for Dayoung. This leads to a rather humorous sequence as the titular Rocket Girl dressed in a Les Mis shirt forces a woman ten years older than her to show her where her jetpack is while looking like more of an adult than Annie does.
Which is ironic, because this is the first issue we actually see Dayoung act like an actual teenager in that she completely has a huffy angst attack over how her guardian is treating her. Granted, this angry teenager also happens to be a cop from the future with a jetpack, so it goes how you’d expect.
As usual, Reeder’s art is intricately gorgeous and is well worth the wait between issues. She also has such a strength with expression and posture, which really comes into play this issue as we see Dayoung and Annie run the gamut of negative emotions over the space of five pages.
Montclare is also working extra hard in this issue, further getting into the mystery of Quintum Mechanics, which Dayoung observes as taking on “a life of its own” after two explosions. However, that’s not the main focus as Dayoung finally loses her temper at her 20-something guardian and runs off to save the day and kick some ass. Teenage stubbornness and angst is something that doesn’t get a chance to come up a whole lot in comics, but Montclare nails it perfectly here. Even with her jetpack and being displaced from her timeline, Dayoung’s refusal to listen to Annie and prove that she’s right is so incredibly realistic. Maybe some of it is hubris, but Dayoung is a teenager with a lot of issues to deal with at the end of the day.
In “the past” of 2013, Gomez and Leshawn pay a visit to Dayoung’s former partner Tasha Tallchief. If the “80s vision of the future” that Reeder mentions in the back matter wasn’t obvious before, it certainly is now with the way the characters are dressed in these scene, with all bright colors and puffy textures. Tasha’s design in this scene is especially appealing, with her long clear housecoat seeming to be an extension of her emotional state as her former coworkers bring her in the loop of what has happened to Dayoung and why they need her help. Also worth noting is that this “80s vision of the future” is way more diverse than most 80s media, especially with the reveal that Tasha herself is half-Native American.
Back in “the present,” the issue culminates in a giant fight scene as Dayoung responds to a report of a riot at Radio City Music Hall. It’s an extremely well-detailed and exciting fight scene that can be appreciated even more after reading Reeder’s piece on how she went about creating it, using photo and angle references from an actual tour she took of Radio City Music Hall. It also includes the sound effect “ROC-KTTTE!” when Dayoung kicks one of the perps in the face, which might just be the greatest pun based sound effect of all time in comics.
The issue ends with the usual Rocket Girl split, with Gomez, Lashawn and Tasha going to investigate Quintum in the “past” and Dayoung being lauded as a hero by Ed Koch and Donald Trump in the “present.” Yes, you read that right. The presence of these two figures certainly helps ground the series in historical reality, but it’s almost disorienting to see Trump in that kind of position considering how he’d probably be referring to Dayoung in hate speech in our current 2015 if she existed then. Perhaps that dissonance is intended, or maybe Montclare and Reeder wanted to have a fictional version of Trump admit that a young Korean-American woman is better than him. Either way, it makes for an interesting conclusion to the issue.
Rocket Girl #7 is a fun and frenetic issue that reminds the reader of who Dayoung actually is: a stubborn teenager with a strong sense of right and wrong that happens to have a jetpack to fight crimes with. Montclare and Reeder work in tandem wonderfully to get this point across with perfectly teen angsty dialogue and gorgeous art to go with it. It should be interesting to see where the story goes next, with headstrong Dayoung deciding to take matters into her own hands and her compatriots in “the past” trying to get to the bottom of what she might have caused.