Review: The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction! #4
In Central City, Denny and Cliff, AKA The Spirit and The Rocketeer, are on the trail of a deviously dangerous, glove-wearing foe—but will they be able to unravel the web of mystery and intrigue they have become embroiled in? Find out in the grand finale of Pulp Friction, as two timeless characters finally discover the truth… or do they? Bonus! What happens to our hapless heroines, Betty and Ellen?
The conclusion to the crossover event pairing up two pulp inspired icons hits this week. The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction #4 is written by Mark Waid with art by J Bone. Rom Fajardo handles colors with Tom B. Long providing lettering. The event has been flying high so far, but does the finale sink or soar?
The Shadow is at the mercy of a brain…let’s go with scrambled instead of washed, Betty who has been instructed by the Octopus to kill The Shadow. Our ghoulish hero is able to snap her out of her trance before she’s able to do the deed, but he’s still in a world of trouble. While the Octopus is sticking to the shadows, his henchmen are more than happy to go a few rounds with the masked hero. Across town The Rocketeer is trying to get to Betty and save the day. Surprisingly Cliff gets a little help from the boys in blue. As The Rocketeer and the cops race to the warehouse where The Shadow and the matter transporting cameras are, the second part of the villains’ plans is enacted. Our two heroes think they’ve save the day even though Octopus got away, but there is one card left to flip over. The most powerful man in the world is in danger and only The Rocketeer and The Shadow can save him. The stakes just go larger. Can our heroes handle it? How will this uneasy alliance end?
Waid writes a fast-paced and fun finale. There’s a lot going on in these 22-pages, but Waid paces it out right and gives each twist and every turn equal weight. The final part of the villainous plan and the intended target kicks things up a notch. It also leads to one of the greatest panels I’ve seen in a long time. Someone unexpected takes flight and it’s nothing short of awesome. J. Bone’s art has been a good fit for this two-fisted romp. Bone has a distinct cartoon flair that takes a little while to get acclimated to when it’s a square-jawed, expressive Shadow, but it looks great when standing next to Cliff. Bone directs some great action scenes as well. Fajardo’s colors are bright and vibrant. They really pop off the page and help elevate the Saturday morning cartoon fun of Bone’s art.
Bottom Line: Pulp Friction has been a flat out fun ride. Waid has a great handle on both characters and gives them both plenty to do. Pulp can be gritty and pulp can be fun, but Waid has found a pretty good balance for this series. Waid and J. Bone really need to collaborate on another story for either character in the near future again, but this time from issue #1. 4.5/5