The Barnes & Noble Review
It begins "a few days after tomorrow," at a packed rock club. The lead singer saunters onstage in a yellow jumpsuit. His eyes are solid black, his hair fire-engine red; a large 7 with a circle around it adorns the middle of his forehead. As he rips into the first song, a sinister figure rears up a few rows back in the crowd. The vaguely amphibian humanoid pulls a weapon and fires a deadly blue beam that shatters the lead singer's guitar, held up in defense at the last moment. The lead singer leaps into the crowd, smashes away the weapon with the flaming remains of his guitar and is suddenly crowd surfing, helpless, as the fiend beats a hasty retreat. In the ensuing commotion, the singer disappears. Without a trace. Say hello to Red Rocket 7, the cartoon reincarnation of Ziggy Stardust. Or something like that.
A brief and massively oversimplified plot summary: In 1953, an alien who looks like an Armani model crash-lands on Earth after escaping the conquest of his home planet by the Infinities, a pack of immortal galactic overlords who look nothing like Armani models. Fearing him critically wounded, his faithful robot protector clones him six times. Each clone receives the Original's memories and is imbued with an amplified version of one of the Original's specific characteristics. The sixth clone (Red Rocket 7) goes on to a life of pop-music stardom, participating through the decades in every significant happening in the history of rock 'n' roll.
With absolutely killer illustrations and this glam rock-inspired plot, Mike Allred has created perhapsthesingle coolest graphic novel ever made. Visually it's stunning, with fiery explosions, spurting gore, and the heaving bosoms of scantily clad, voluptuous groupies. The story is wildly over-the-top and unfolds through a gaggle of different narrative devices that keep it jumping around in time. Allred is a music-history junky, and he wraps the plot around Red Rocket 7's adventures in the music industry with everyone from Elvis to the Beatles and Stones, Dylan, Zeppelin, David Bowie, and many more which gives him a chance to draw all of them. Among other things, Red Rocket 7 is a cartoon catalogue of popular music from the 1950s to the present. Almost as if he himself were a rock star, the author takes some impressively loony stabs at pseudoreligious philosophizing along the way.
That amphibian dude in the crowd was, needless to say, an Infinity assassin, and Red Rocket 7 knows now that he and his brothers have been discovered, and that Earth is no longer safe for them. But he's also getting close to discovering that elusive lost chord that has haunted him through the years a chord that could, unbeknownst to him, bring on the Astroesque: a cosmic convergence prophesied since the dawn of time that will restore his home planet and bring peace to the universe! What more could you possibly ask for?