Monday, February 20, 2006

Review: Shock Rockets

Kurt Busiek first came to my attention through his conception of Astro City, a neo-superhero world that takes a respectful view of the super-hero genre while providing a fresh take on it. (His "Batman" character, for instance, has a secret that was both original and interesting)

Shock Rockets is his attempt at juvenile science fiction, similar to John Varley's Red Thunder. It features a world where Earth survives an alien assault by stealing enough alien fighter planes to turn the tide. Only 6 of those planes survive the war, and are now used to maintain peace in the post-invasion world.

The story starts with a disenchanted kid who accidentally ends up piloting one of the rockets when the pilot dies (with only the slightest tip of the hat to Abin-Sur handing over his ring to Hal Jordan). He then starts to discover that the ships and his world aren't quite what they seem to be on the surface.

The story deals with many interesting social themes, from class resentment to team integration. The slow reveal of the story behind the ships and the world behind the story is also skillfully done, and the art is excellent. The end of this volume provides a plot revelation that obviously leaves plenty of room for sequels, which I hope will be as interesting as this first book.

Recommended.
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