Minorities in cartoons: Rocket

This week’s entry is Rocket, from Milestone Comics’ “Icon” title. Rocket (real name Raquel Ervin) was created by Dwayne McDuffie and Mark D. Bright. She first appeared in “Icon” #1 (May 1993).

Background

Raquel grew up in an impoverished neighborhood of the fictional city of Dakota. As a teenager, while attempting a robbery with friends, she meets Augustus Freeman IV, a wealthy conservative Black man… who’s actually an alien in disguise (and stranded on Earth since the mid-19th century). Raquel encourages Augustus to become the superhero “Icon,” with her as his sidekick, “Rocket” (via the use of his alien technology).

Not long after starting her superhero career, Raquel discovers she’s pregnant, and decides to keep the baby, though this means retiring (temporarily) from being Rocket.

Over the course of the series, we learn about Raquel’s goal of becoming a writer, while also seeing her meet the rest of the Milestone Comics cast (including Static). Many saw the series as actually emphasizing Raquel more than Augustus (who Raquel occasionally conflicted with per their different social/political views, Raquel being more liberal).

Since the Milestone line ended, Rocket’s comic book fortunes, like those of the Milestone characters in general (aside from Static), have fallen on hard times. In the 2000s, the Milestone characters were folded into the mainstream DC Universe, which hasn’t particularly helped them much. Subsequently, Raquel appeared along with Icon in a McDuffie-written “Justice League of America” story.

Rocket’s powers come from her belt (alien technology of Icon’s), which allows her to generate an “inertia field” that lets her manipulate kinetic energy. This lets her generate forcefields, fly, and have some invulnerability.

Other media

Rocket appeared in the “Young Justice” animated series. Kali Troy voiced Raquel.

(Updated 11/15/16)

Anthony
I'm Anthony, the owner of Diverse Tech Geek.