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ROCKETO: Journey to the Hidden Sea (vol. 1) - a review

Review by Scott Tingley - May 28, 2007

Have you ever tried to explain to someone that hasn't seen it what the movie Shawshank Redemption is about? Can you make it sound interesting at all? One of my favorite movies comes across as a tired tale of a guy sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, etc. I think if I try to explain what ROCKETO: Journey to the Hidden Sea (volume 1) by Frank Espinosa and Marie Taylor is about it will come across as a really silly sounding adventure story – a good example of the kind of comic story that non-comic readers have no time for. This is not that kind of book.

I remember seeing something about this Rocketo a while back and something about it turned me off right away. I think it was the cover to issue #1 (it was originally published as a regular monthly comic – now a collected graphic novel). It looked to me like a silly action book staring an older male hero and his plucky younger sidekick (the real hero of the book). The only reason that I ended up reading it at all is that I saw it in the library a couple of weeks ago. No sidekick, and no silliness to be found. Lots of fun, a bit of heartbreak and crushing defeat, but no silliness.

The book stars Rocketo Garrison, a Mapper of the world the Earth has become. To quote the preface of the book:  

It has been 2000 years since the Great Shattering of the planet Earth.
New men have been created for this New World .
Among them are the Mappers who explore the unknown continents,
chart the depths of the oceans, navigating new jungles and deserts,
guiding others in the discovery of their world.

  These are the journeys of Rocketo Garrison.  

ROCKETO: Journey to the Hidden Sea has a talking dog-man (not silly at all), terrifying mutant monsters (really disturbing), retro looking sea/spacecraft and giant robots, and heroes (not superheroes, more like something out of mythology). The whole thing reminds me of the great Mythology tales mixed with the fantastic sci-fi book covers from the 50's. And it also reminds me of The Trigan Empire (which is not a reference even very many lifelong comic readers would know).

This is a fine example of what high concept action adventure comics can be. This story needs to be read attentively – with care. This is something you and your teen can both thoroughly enjoy.

Note: there is no “real” swearing. Just a whole lot of “hell” and maybe a “damn”. Nothing serious. I would recommend it for Teen/Young Adult and up.

This is a review for Volume One. Volume Two came out April 2007, and I haven't read it yet, but here is some information:

FC • 212 pages • $19.99

art & cover: FRANK ESPINOSA

In the conclusion to the Eisner-nominated JOURNEY TO THE HIDDEN SEA, a new history of mankind is revealed – its origins, its powers and its destruction. As Rocketo and his crew explore the mythical world of the Hidden Sea , the mighty forces of Lucerne prepare for an invasion. Rocketo must race against time and discover the secrets of Ultamo if he is to save mankind.

PLUS: Drawings from FRANK ESPINOSA's personal sketchbook, character biographies, the time line of Rocketo's New World , new excerpts from the New World Geographic Society, new pin-ups of Rocketo, a preview of JOURNEY TO THE NEW WORLD and more!

Collects ROCKETO #7-12

In stores April 18, 2007


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