Review: Rocket Salvage #1

Written by Guest Contributor: Jason DiGioia

Rocket Salvage #1 made me feel a bit like a kid again, and given the amount of stress I have in my life, that’s no easy task. So thank you, Yehudi Mercado, for de-stressing me for a while. This is not a perfect first issue by any means, but Mercado has created a story that’s satisfying, entertaining, and worth your time and money.

The galactic spaceport Rio Rojo is home to Rocket Salvage, a junkyard and salvage company run by our hero, Primo Salvage (prepare for lots of goofball, tongue-in-cheek names). Futuristic hovercar street races are all the rage on Rio Rojo, and Primo happens to be the fastest man in the galaxy...or at least he was, fifteen years ago. Something bad happened somewhere along the way, a terrible crash we don’t know much about, and now Primo is a disgraced ex-racer who hauls junk for a living.

His two kids don’t do much in the way of boosting his ego. Zeta is his young clone of a daughter, who is supposed to be “smarter than a genius,” and Beta is Primo’s younger, much dumber clone who serves a son role. Zeta is the disrespectful rebel, while Beta is very much the stereotype of a teenage boy: number than a bag of pounded ice. RS1 abounds with plenty of other interesting characters. We’ve got gangsters, spies, shady alien racers, robots, mad scientists, street thugs, and an entire spaceport of scumbaggery. We’re talking a rich, rich universe with plenty of room to expand.

Rocket-Salvage-#1-12.17.14That’s not to say the story blew me away. It didn’t. Although Mercado has set up what I’m sure will be a very entertaining six issue arc, I wasn’t left at the edge of my seat by the end. The loyalties of a main character become dubious in the final pages, but I wasn’t entirely surprised. Zeta is supposed to have the intellectual capability of a billion supercomputers, but really she’s just a typical whiny kid (though she is a good racer). The whereabouts of a “superweapon” that could swing the tide of an ongoing war between two superpowers are becoming clearer, but I didn’t find myself concerned about it. Primo and his kids will be fine. They’ll be doing something together when all is said and done, so the stakes didn’t really wow me. What did wow me was the world Mercado has created.

Imagine a mix of the IOS game Space Miner, the Star Wars universe, The Fast and the Furious series, and a plethora of great cartoons. It’s tone, the atmosphere, is just plain goofy and fun. I found myself smiling a lot as I read through the second time, catching jokes I missed the first read through. There’s a lot of care given to little things, and I appreciate that.

A lot of the credit for this issue’s entertainment value needs to be given to illustrator Bachan; without his cartoonish art (please forgive how amateurish that sounds), I don’t think I would have enjoyed it so much. Take Primo’s face, for example. He’s got a chin that dwarfs Leno’s, a luxurious mustache that makes me jealous, and a face that screams macho. Bachan’s work with facial expressions really complements Mercado’s character development. Car races are all colorful and intense. Alien designs are silly and wonderful. I can’t wait to see more.

I can deal with a few character problems, or a few predictable story elements. There’s entertaining stuff here, and despite all the obvious content inspirations, RS1 is something unique. You owe it to yourself to give it a read.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Yehudi Mercado Artist: Bachan Publisher: BOOM!/Archaia Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/17/2014 Format: Mini-Series (of 6); Print/Digital