Day 17 of 28 Days of Black Super Heroes, today’s hero is the DC Comics’ character Rocket.
See, everybody loved Rocket. At least everyone I knew did, because she was the kind of girl who would have your back. She and her partner Icon made a very unique and entertaining team.
It kills me that I lost all these issues. See my Icon write up for more details.
WHO IS ROCKET?
Rocket is Raquel Ervin, a teenage girl who had wanted to be a writer, but really never gave it a try, because it just didn’t seem possible. She had grown up in a particularly bad area of the city of Dakota, where all the Milestone stuff went down.
The night her feelings changed was when she met her partner-to-be Icon. She and her friends were getting into trouble, and they decided to rob the house of Augustus Freeman, as he was very wealthy and they thought they could score big.
As it turns out, Augustus inadvertently revealed his powers to Raquel during the course of the robbery.
She eventually learned that he was a shipwrecked alien that had been on Earth for a very long time. The idea then struck Raquel that Augustus should be using his powers to help people, to be an example and give people something to aspire to.
Raquel had a lot of passion to her, and Augustus was convinced to go along with her plan. That’s saying something, too, since Augustus was about a 400 year old lawyer. I mean could someone convince you to put on tight-ass spandex and run around the city getting involved in all kinds of crimes?
Even if I was invulnerable, I just don’t see that happening.
WHAT DOES SHE DO
Rocket doesn’t have any innate superhuman powers. She gets her powers from her belt-buckle.
Seriously. Her belt buckle was actually a part of Icon’s crashed spaceship that counteracted inertia and redirected force away from the occupant.
In short, it was a force-field belt-buckle.
So if someone tried to shoot her or punch her, the force from the hit would either be redirected away harmlessly or she could store that energy and then release it violently in concussive bursts.
Initially, she could use the belt to leap great distances. Eventually she was able to use it to actually fly.
She was actually pretty powerful when it came down to it. I was impressed by the science of it all.
Rocket was very liberal, full of passion and idealism, whereas Icon was pretty conservative and not given to emotional display. The two clashed about these sorts of issues as the series went on.
I remember thinking that hopefully Rocket and Static would get together eventually, but maybe it was too obvious? They never really went there with it.
Rocket’s biggest challenge came not from super-hero’ing, but from finding out that she was pregnant by her ex-boyfriend.
Suddenly Rocket was gonna be a teenage mother. Holy crap. I had never seen this in a comic before. What was she gonna do? Was this the end of Icon and Rocket?
THE NEW ICON & ROCKET
There came a point in the series where Icon was finally able to escape from Earth and get back to his life.
I recall being kind of sad, not that Icon and Rocket’s adventures might be over, but that Raquel and Augustus wouldn’t be together anymore. The unlikely friendship they developed was written so well and so naturally that I actually felt the emotional turmoil of these characters.
Raquel still wanted there to be an Icon and Rocket, so the role of Icon was given over to a man the duo had previously met –Buck Wild, Mercenary Man. This was a character that was an obvious and hilarious dig at Marvel Comics’ Luke Cage.
So with Icon cast, they still need a Rocket, as Raquel’s advancing pregnancy forced her to give up the role. In her place she chose her good friend Darnice. If I remember right it was Darnice who actually discovered how to use the belt to fly instead of just jump.
As previously mentioned (ie bitched about), I no longer have my Icon comics, so I don’t remember if it was Raquel or Darnice who fought the alien mass-murderer Oblivion. Anyone remember?
Well, I remember being somewhat traumatized because one of those Rockets got her ass kicked all up and down the city by Oblivion. Not a good look.
Once again, the World’s Collide event was where all the Milestone heroes met up with the Superman family of heroes (including Superboy and Steel).
I mentioned before that Rocket’s early costume had a circle opening in her top to reveal her cleavage. I think Icon initially expressed disapproval when he first saw it. Then, after she met Superboy and he kept staring at it (Superboy was a tactless horndog at that time), she made a note to herself to change her costume and fill in that area. She actually did change the costume later on.
So as reported in the previous Milestone character write-ups, the “Dakota-Verse” characters were brought into the mainstream Dc Universe so they could kick it with Superman and Hawkman (don’t know why anyone would choose to kick it with Hawkman but the point is they could if they wanted to).
Rocket made an appearance in the Justice League story that re-introduced the Milestone crew to the DC Universe proper. I have to admit that I don’t really know what happened to her after that.
It seems as if the basics are still there intact, but some things had to change. Specifically since everyone thinks the Dakota heroes have been there the whole time (except Icon and Superman) then that means they can’t remember the Worlds Collide event.
That’s a huge shame because the Dakota crew really grew during that event. Let’s face it, the DCU guys had been used to universe shattering crisis situations popping up on a busy weekend, but that was the first extinction level event the Milestone guys ever had to deal with.
Anyway the wiki stuff is not very detailed on Rocket, so if anyone out there knows something more of her, then let me know.
THE WRAP UP
Rocket was and apparently still is a kick-ass character. The Milestone creators gave us something pretty special with her, and hopefully we can see more of her and Icon in the future.
I think this is the kind of character that young kids could really identify with. Yeah she made some mistakes but she faced all of her problems down and she’s directly responsible for all the good that Icon has done since she convinced him to come out of the shadows.
I mean, the comic was called Icon, but kind of like the Sherlock Holmes books were supposedly about Sherlock, but really ended up focusing on Watson. Raquel was actually the driving force in the book. Excellent, excellent job from the Milestone creators.
So with that, I’ll leave you guys with a look at the Rocket pencil art I drew up. Stay tuned for the next hero!