by Yehudi Mercado, Bachan, Jeremy Lawson
Fifteen years ago, Primo Rocket was a celebrity-level speeder-racer on the verge of breaking records. Now, Rocket finds himself and his two family members outlaws, taking on odd jobs for quick cash. In this incredibly vibrant universe from the minds of Yehudi Mercado and Bachan, the Rocket Family introduces readers to a fun new world.
Rocket Salvage is packed with visual stimuli. From the very beginning, Mercado and his art team of Bachan and Jeremy Lawson infuse each panel with rich new character designs, energetic settings and little cue cards to pack in some quick information about this new cast. In a brief sequence, readers see Primo in all his glory before cutting to present day. Owner of a junkyard and relying on some off-the-books income, something has changed. Though it isn’t the focus, it is nice to see Mercado allowing this information and a nice chunk of years to remain without any real explanation. The Galactic Republic and the Republic of Galaxies are two factions of the universe that are fighting and somewhere amongst this long-standing feud is a fabled lost weapon that may or may not be the real deal. Readers catch up with some briefly shown cast members from the flashback sequence as Primo moves about Rio Rojo. Mercado has crafted a setting that feels incredibly lived in and that makes the entire experience in the city all the more engaging. Short moments with Boss Klem and Mandy only hint at a larger story, but play to a more complete sense of the city and beyond.
In many ways, this first issue of Rocket Salvage is simply an introduction. Through some choice interactions with the monsters and robots, readers get a great sense of each member of the Rocket family. Mercado is impressive in managing to deliver this without it ever feeling forced. This is also party due to how the setting is depicted by Bachan and Lawson. Not only are the creatures and foreground visuals full of energy, but many panels include fantastic background detail that further create a sensation about the universe. Small glimpses at other creatures and some fun teases that appear without mention early, only to reappear later, are the start of what may lead to readers revisiting many of the panels scanning over the rich setting. Bachan doesn’t overly detail these scenes, but instead manages to sneak in interesting bits. The dirtiness of the city and that way its streets and buildings are populated make Rio Rojo feel much more established. Even though the characters and settings are based in a cartoony visual style, Bachan and Lawson still deliver a world that feels relatable in many ways.
With a curious cast and a very interesting premise, the opening of Rocket Salvage is a good bit of fun. Issue one is just a tease of what lies ahead as Mercado spends more time allowing the characters and city to breath than on getting plot on the page. But with enough pieces, it makes for a very solid beginning.