I tell ya, I needed this issue this week. Rocket Salvage has been one of the most underrated mini-series over the past few months. The story overall is pretty lighthearted, but there’s been a deeper emotional journey from the very beginning. It’s one of the few series that caught me completely off guard, but then also managed to consistently deliver a story that was both interesting and very well told. That thing about it is that it’s a happy story. Sure it’s had plenty of down moments, but then so does real life which is what makes the story so relatable. This final issue has plenty of emotional ups and downs and while you’re pretty sure you know how it’ll turn out, the journey to get there has been fantastic.
The opening shows Primo making and fixing up Beta’s arm as a kid and giving him his pet dog for his birthday. Beta asks what a clone is and rather than telling him the ugly truth Primo tells him that he’s his guardian angel. In this one quick opening scene we see how damn good of a father Primo really is. And yes the fact that he’s playing father to his own clone and the clone of his clone… is weird, but that’s one of the charming characteristics of this series.
In the present we see Beta, who’s left the Rocket family, being given instructions from the mob boss that runs Rio Rojo. He’s asked Beta to tell Primo to take the “weapon” and leave Rio Rojo which ends up being the catalyst for the finale. I really don’t need to tell you anything else. It’s the final issue and if you haven’t been reading the series then I don’t know what I could possibly pluck from the story to convince you. If you’ve been following from the beginning then just know that this is a rewarding ending. I was absolutely impressed and frankly it’s been a long damn time since reading the ending of a mini-series made me happy. I’m not talking about it being a good ending, even though it is, but I’m talking about actually feeling an overwhelming happiness upon reading the conclusion. Sadly I can’t remember the last time a comic made me feel that way so I have to give a ton of credit to the creative team.
Writer Yehudi Mercado creates and develops some wonderful characters in this series, but they really climax in this issue. We get bits and pieces of everyone’s development no matter how sub-character they felt going into this issue. Mercado develops the relationship between Primo and Klem, Beta and Zeta and of course Primo and Evy. There’s just so much at play and yet Mercado never drops the pieces. He keeps everything tightly knit, but also lets it play out in an organic way to the story. His storytelling here is fantastic and worthy of more praise than I can possibly give in one review.
I wouldn’t say that Bachan is the unsung hero of this series, but he definitely keeps up with everything that Mercado has going on. The two creators are in sync with each other and the results are one of the best comics of the year. As I’ve said, there’s a lot of emotion in this issue and a great deal of that comes from the execution of the artwork. A touching scene is only as powerful as the expression that Bachan is able to produce and man-oh-man does he produces some great expressions that really bring home the scene. The action scenes are really great as they have been throughout the series, but the touching soft moments are where Bachan’s art excels.
There’s been quite a few mini-series this year, but not a lot of them have stood out or finished strong. Rocket Salvage is a series that has left an impression and I wouldn’t be surprised if it made an appearance on my picks for the end of the year. I mean after all I can’t even think of another comic in recent years that left me genuinely happy. If you need a pick me up check out Rocket Salvage, a series all “all-ages” comics should strive to be like.
Rocket Salvage #5 Writer: Yehudi Mercado Artist: Bachan Colorist: Jeremy Lawson Publisher: Archaia/BOOM! Price: $5.99 (This issue is huge so don’t be scared by that price!) Release Date: 4/29/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital