If you've seen the Tobey Maguire Spider-man movies, you've heard the phrase "with great power comes great responsibility" about...forty times in a two-hour sitting. And that's true. If you have great power, you should use it responsibly by being a vigilante and dishing out extra-judicial justice by beating people you deem to be criminals to the point of unconsciousness.
Skyrocket's in flight
Sometimes, though, that means protecting the criminals from their own choices. Skyrocket was one such cry for help.
Now, we've talked about a good number of gimmicks on this podcast and it can be tough to differentiate yourself. And this is the super friends, too, so you have the villains of not just one hero, but Batman, Superman, Wonder-woman, Robin and assorted lower-tier, less threatening protagonists like unpowered Wendy and Marvin, the Wonder Dog, and, of course, Aquaman. It is truly a crowded field. You have to put in the work to come up with a good gimmick.
Or...just pick the first thing you see. You like fireworks? They're pretty, sparkly, and fun? Let's do some super crime with fireworks.
Whether it was the fourth of July or the man who would come to be known as Skyrocket was listening to the Starland Vocal Band we'll never know, but Skyrocket explodes on the scene using rockets. To...do super crime.
On a lot of these I'm really kind of critical of the criminals, saying that they should sell the tech they use to do crime and legally make way more money than they would ripping off museums and jewelry stores. That's not the case with Skyrocket. Skyrocket, in going up against Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman is punching waaaaay above his weight. I mean, the dude starts out the issue trying to burn Batman and Robin with sparklers. They're shot from his wrists, and after getting Batman and the Boy Wonder to dive out of the way, he goes straight through a glass window with his rocket boots - which, yes, are just fireworks strapped to his feet.
It's hard to call flying through a glass window and shooting off into the sky with zero control over your firework shoes a success, but honestly it's the best you can probably hope for when going up against Batman.
Afternoon delight (at getting away from Superman)
All that to say, don't strap fireworks to your shoes and try to fly. Or do, I don't even know. Everything about Skyrocket really shouldn't work but kind of does. The next time he tangles with Superman and Wonder Woman - remember, they're like, S-class superheroes. They both could put a fist clean through his head by accident. They caught him at the Museum of Music trying to steal rare sheet music. I mean he had to have a buyer for that, right? How do you fence sheet music?
Anyway, I guess they underestimated him, because while the sheet music was safe - no worries, everybody - he shot some Roman Candles at Wonder Woman and slipped through Superman's arms when the Man of Steel didn't realize that the guy in the purple jumpsuit could fly.
Superman could, too, like, actually fly, but Skyrocket managed to blind the heroes with his fireworks long enough to escape. Once again, Skyrocket is making it work.
I think he would have gotten away with way more crime, too, if he wasn't crashing in the same abandoned house as the Riddler.
So, the Riddler is a punk. He got his. He had a recognizable brand. A direct line into the Hall of Justice where he could menace the Super Friends whenever he wanted. He was one of those people who made it and then kicked the ladder away. He gave the Super Friends hints regarding Skyrocket's crimes, so they would be there and, when the Super Friends caught the Riddler in the third act, he straight up snitched on the new guy. Skyrocket might not have had the substance to go the distance, but he definitely had the style and the bravado for days. Like, to be in the sky, taunting Superman while zipping around on fireworks you barely control? That's top shelf villainy. This guy would have gone far.
There's confidence, though, and then there's hubris. Not realizing the trap had been set for him, Skyrocket went to steal some scrap metal from the docks which...ok... I don't get it but this guy's obviously playing by his own rules.
Flew too close to the son (of Krypton) on wings made of fireworks
Anyway, Superman showed up and instead of running away, Skyrocket shot sparklers at him. Superman shrieked and fled and Skyrocket, not seeing the barely clever ruse, followed Superman out over the water. There, six whales, controlled by Aquaman who...is probably just glad to be helping...soaked Skyrocket. Because he relied on fireworks, he splashed down into the water and was quickly arrested.
We don't know how high skyrocket could have flown if Riddler didn't inform on him. DC, for some reason, chose not to go back to this particular well, and this issue of Super Friends is Skyrocket's one and only appearance. For some reason they didn't see the potential in a man with zero backstory who straps fireworks to his body to rob museums.
- Superfriends #4
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