Just about a year after the Guardians of the Galaxy movie dropped, Marvel Comics gave Skottie Young the reins to Rocket Raccoon and Groot, two of the most beloved movie Marvel Comics characters. The series was fun, mostly light drama, and at times incredibly inventive. The series wrapped at issue #10 with a three-issue Civil War II tie-in that likely left many a bit sour on the series. Newly printed in the smaller digest-sized format this week, the series is a great one to revisit thanks to the imaginative nature of the stories and the colorful personality of the title characters. Here are three big reasons to give this reprint a closer look.
#1: Opens with a clever two-part story that brings the characters back into the universe.
Taking a step back, this is an interesting time for the characters recovering from a mysterious disappearance in Secret Wars. Skottie Young writes the first six issues in this story and in a lot of ways it reads like Marvel was attempting to remind us how great these characters are. The first two issues are quite fun, defying expectations right off the bat by telling us Groot and Rocket are dead and introducing a new duo known as Pockets and Shrub who have seemingly taken their place. It’s a fun way to play off the original duo. Soon, however, we find out Rocket is now Lord Rakzoon, Groot is covered in carvings that look like tattoos, and nothing is as it seems. Filipe Andrade draws these issues and does a fabulous job casting the characters in dark shadows (with colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu), further sending the reader’s alarm bells off. All of this buildup ends up paying off with a reminder of how positive, adventurous, and fun these characters are. It’s a great way to reenergize the duo.
#2: Gives us the same vibes of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie at a time when the team wasn’t as traditional
It’s easy to forget, but Brian Michael Bendis had seriously changed the DNA of the Guardians team. The team was made up of Benjamin Grimm, Shadowcat, and even Venom to just name a few. Drax was still there, but the series no longer had the same identity, becoming more of a space-cop sort of tale. The dynamic of this team requires at least a majority of the members we’re familiar with, and that was gone. This series plucks Groot and Rocket out of that dynamic but delivers the same level of fun and adventure. If you liked the dynamic of Groot and Rocket, as well as the zany adventures the Guardians get themselves into, this book delivers that.
#3: Clever one-shot stories
After the first three-issue story arc ends, this book opens up the cosmic universe with clever and imaginative ideas. In issue #4, for instance, we have Iron Man and Rocket compete in Tony’s fantasy football league. We soon learn it’s not a conventional fantasy football game as you might know it, but instead fantasy characters playing football with some pretty fantastical rules. If you’re familiar with Dungeons and Dragons you’ll dig the B-plot, which involves Rocket DM’ing a game similar to D&D with other superheroes.
In another story, Rocket and Groot go at it one-on-one at games that never finish as Rocket won’t concede defeat. This plays into an interesting adventure that ends with a successful adventure completed, but even then Rocket can’t lose.
I had missed this series when it originally started in 2015, and it was nice to see how Marvel was working to keep Rocket and Groot stories in circulation. Their depiction in the films, and their interesting dynamic explored prior to that, takes the forefront in a fun and imaginative 10 issue collection. Now in digest-format, kiddos have even more reason to gravitate towards these stories.
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