The Rocketeer is a comic book series that began in the 1980s. Created by the late Dave Stevens, it tells the story of airplane pilot Cliff Secord, who finds a rocket pack stolen from its inventor, Howard Hughes. (Yes, THAT Howard Hughes, before he went nuts due to numerous medical conditions.) After defeating the crooks Cliff is allowed to keep it to fight criminals and Nazis, since this took place around World War II. The series was inspired by the old “Rocket Men” serials, although since we actually saw King Of The Rocket Men during a Saturday Night Serials experiment I’m betting it was closer to the spinoff heroes like Commando Cody than Jeff King. (Seriously, that serial turned out to be terrible.) The comic inspired a 1991 movie produced by Disney. I guess somehow they still have the license because here in 2019 they made a cartoon…for Disney Junior…that isn’t about Cliff but his descendant. As I’ve said in past articles previewing this show it seems a shame that Rocketeer fans didn’t get a cartoon about their beloved hero (outside of a fan film I found once for the character’s 20th anniversary) but kids who know nothing of the comic or the movie gets one with a great, great granddaughter.
To their credit though they do show respect to the original source material, more than a few other recent reinterpretations I could mention. In modern times the original Rocketeer is loved and remembered as the hero of Hughesville. The design is even right. For reasons not yet explained someone sends Cliff’s old helmet to Kit Secord. who shares her ancestor’s love of planes and flying. This is a signal to her grandfather that she is to inherit his rocket pack as the new Rocketeer, I’m not sure why the pack fits when the helmet doesn’t. Both were designed for an adult but why send a rocket pack to a seven-year-old in the first place? Then again it’s a superhero show on the Disney preschool channel. It still makes more sense than the lore of P.J. Masks. In the first episode (split into the stories “First Flight” and “Pilot Error” we meet Kit and her grandfather Ambrose, her bulldog Butch (Cliff’s mechanic had a bulldong as well), and her best friend and tech guru Tesh. Ambrose helps out both of them in their roles as the new Rocketeer and her technician. However this is not the episode Disney Junior posted to their YouTube channel so it’s not the one I’m showing tonight. We don’t even get the second episode, where Tesh gets his own cool vehicle as “ground support”.
Instead we have “Carnival Caper/Songbird Soars Again”, the third episode, in which the Rocketeer deals with a criminal magician (I think The Magician is one of the only magician superheroes out there besides the blue Ninja Steel Power Ranger) and in the other Kit tries to convince a famous stunt pilot to return to the skies. I was worried going in but despite my early issues I ended up enjoying the end product and I hope you do to.