Rocketo: Journey to the Hidden Sea v2

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
Frank Espinosa presents volume two of his amazing epic fantasy story, winding up this phase of his tale with a series of astonishingly beautiful and heartfelt scenes.

Rocketo Garrison is a Mapper, one of a group of people who guide others in the discovery of a new world created 2000 years after the destruction of Earth. He is also a warrior, a leader of some very unique men and women, and the child of one of his world's greatest Mappers. That may seem like a lot for any man to take, but Rocketo Garrison handles every moment of his life with passion, grace and skill. He fights through adversities, takes on battles, and explores his world with grace and intensity. He's an epic hero in the mold of Odysseus, leading men to greater glories.

Rocketo has his doubts, yes, but that's because all great men must have doubts. All great heroes must have moments in which they doubt the battles they must fight. But Rocketo is a true hero, and he fights through his doubts, transcending his life to become a true legend.

When Rocketo literally becomes illuminated in chapter 11, it represents the character’s transcendence and simultaneous rooting in his world. Readers truly see what it means to be fully realized as a Mapper. As Rocketo says, "I stop struggling. Let my body remember. My name is Rocketo Garrison. My father, Volteo Garrison. My father, Gilberto Garrison. We are a family of Mappers. We light the way. Suddenly I am expanding. I am... everywhere. My light cutting through metal and moving onward... my body dissolves. My light everywhere, touching everything. The city, its people, Mara's face. My light touches the mountains and travels through the deepest valleys."

Yeah, maybe there's a bit of a parable in Rocketo's fate, but I really see the character as more of a prototypical epic hero straight out of the pages of Joseph Campbell. He's a transcendent figure, a humble man with special skills uniquely suited to triumph in his world. He's a man who defeats his own weaknesses through sheer force of personality, of a never-ending ability to find within himself the strengths and abilities and powers that help him to transcend self.

Espinosa illustrates the whole thing in an astonishingly gorgeous style, mixing minimalist inkwork with a transcendent, painterly style. His work reminds a reader of Toth, Kane, Kurtzman and Cooke with its elegant simplicity and spectacular panoramas. At the same time, Espinosa's style is completely his own, with its bizarrely gorgeous alien tableaux and often almost abstract style. Some of the artwork in this book is almost abstract in style; however, amazingly enough, that style only serves to deepen the reader's involvement in the story. It's almost impossible not to get lost in a book where an artist delivers so often on his promise to give readers something completely unique.

In the end, what Espinosa really delivers is a myth, a transcendent story of a truly great man. In both his aspirations and his execution, Frank Espinosa has delivered something completely unique. Last year I gave a rave review to volume one of Rocketo, saying "It’s the kind of book that reminds you that when comics are done best, everything looks easy and graceful and beautiful." Frank Espinosa continues his amazing work here in volume two of this series.

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