Last month, Rocket Girl crash-landed in 1986. This month, we find out that the future she came from (or, from her point of view, the past) wasn't even supposed to exist, and is the result of a time-conundrum (like a paradox, but not quite). Meanwhile, Dayoung is still shaking things up in the 80s...
ROCKET GIRL gets right to the point about how time travel works (and in some cases, doesn't). Getting that set of mysteries out of the way early leaves more room for focus on story-driven mysteries -- like how this time-conundrum got kicked off, and who's behind it -- and it's a refreshing directness. There's a lot going on in the story world, and not all of it needs to drag out over many issues.
Amy Reeder brings her A-game once again, delivering dynamic sequences and expressive faces. ROCKET GIRL might touch on some serious topics (like, say, all the people that might cease to exist if a loophole in time is closed), but the pages look consistently fresh, bright, and active.
It's also nice to see characters within a story world reacting to exceptional events as though they're actually exceptional. Too often in super-powered stories, bystanders blithely accept whatever anomaly just crash-landed (or said anomaly is able to passably hide from the media/too much attention). In ROCKET GIRL, Dayoung causes a media stir and a police investigation when she crashes onto the scene, and isn't able to just slip around unnoticed. She's also a stubborn teenager, and not inclined to sit still and stay inside as the chaos unfolds around her.
Notions of the intersection of maturity and corruption are starting to seep into the story already, in the flashbacks (flash-forwards?) to 2013; we learn that the future police are teenagers because adults can't be trusted. Whether 1986 represents a purer time or the team of friendly scientists abetting Dayoung just hasn't "grown up" enough to be malicious remains to be seen.
Future cops in the ROCKET GIRL world are teens, and while the thematic hints about young people being more morally suited to carry out justice make sense, Dayoung herself comes across as alternately capable and completely untrained. In some situations, she's well-equipped to save the day (her rescue of the construction worker in 1986, her ability to locate an informant from QM), but in others, it looks like she failed Rocket Cop 101 (like when she can't handle her jetpack, or when she goes against common sense and dives into the past without help). These inconsistencies make sense for a regular teenager, but chip away at Dayoung's credibility as a cop/her perceived likelihood of solving such a gigantic, serious problem.
ROCKET GIRL is a fast-paced, clean story about a complicated time-travel situation, and Montclare and Reeder are handling the subject with aplomb. There's an excellent balance of serious sci-fi and light humor, and the time split between 1986 (as it was) and 2013 (as it might have been) keeps the story engaging and shows off some creative range. Bonus: it's appropriate for readers of all ages (thus far), and seems particularly suitable for tween/teen readers.