Does Mark Waid always write Betty so awful? Not poorly awful, but awful to Cliff awful. It’s inexplicable why Cliff would hang around such a terrible human being… makes him a weak character too.
The Spirit and The Rocketeer aren’t exactly a good team-up, but Waid does find a decent connection for Peevy and Dolan–World War I–and the Paul Smith art at least looks really good. But a big airborne fight? Complete waste of time and pages.
Having Ellen appreciate Cliff isn’t a bad move, but unless Waid has them run off together… he’s never going to make up for his Betty characterization.
There’s some organized crime subplot too. It’s not particularly interesting. It’s also unclear how long Cliff’s been the Rocketeer or his current ground situation.
The Smith art has charm and Waid does okay with the Spirit cast, but it feels like a cash grab.
Pulp Friction, Part One; writer, Mark Waid; artist, Paul Smith; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Tom B. Long; editors, Scott Dunbier and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.