Lightning Girl Loves Rocket Boy

If you like the kind of superhero romance you find in comics like Avengers Academy or Young Allies, you should definitely check out this independent short graphic novel. In its 52 black-and-white pages, sophomore college students Marcus and Jodie meet during a pickup football game, then again on patrol as Rocket Boy and Lightning Girl.

Lightning Girl Loves Rocket Boy cover

As they struggle with balancing school, powers, friends, and relationship, they also learn more about themselves and what they need and are capable of … it’s just like my college days, only I couldn’t fly.

The perspective of the story is very much his, combining a coming-of-age “how do I make the right decisions?” story with romance, although she’s portrayed in more three-dimensional fashion than this point might suggest. We spend more time with him and better understand his motivations, and he’s shown as the logical, correct one when the two spat. He defines himself as an individual; she defines herself as a girlfriend (or an ex). He learns his lessons quickly, and seemingly without the pain most tough choices bring with them. Even in scenes where he’s not present, the other characters discuss him. This isn’t a reason to avoid the story, just a note that it’s not equally balanced — he’s the center, and male readers will thus find more to relate to in the lead.

Overall, the dialogue sounds realistic, if a bit amped for dramatic purposes. Either way, it’s entertaining to read. The art is well-suited to the age group of the characters, with a slightly cartoony style that keeps things light and an interesting, thick-outline, almost layered look that makes the foreground characters pop.

There’s a lot jammed into this first effort. A more polished writer might have smoothed out the flow a bit, or tweaked the pacing in certain scenes, but the relatively short page count is also to blame for so many events happening bang after each other, and the lessons learned seeming so quick and easy.

You can buy Lightning Girl Loves Rocket Boy from IndyPlanet, and the website for Hypersmash Studios, the publisher, has some preview pages. And I owe them a huge apology, since I first talked to them about this book last year, when Mike Sterling reviewed it. I’m sorry, guys, that it took me so long to tell people about it.

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