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Review: Rocket Raccoon #1-4

Guardians of the Galaxy was the surprise movie hit of last summer, introducing fans to a new group of superheroes that included a talking raccoon and a walking tree. Marvel Comics finally did the smart thing and gave Rocket Raccoon and Groot their own series in the Marvel Cineverse continuity. They also put the book in the hands of Skottie Young, thereby making sure the title would be accessible to both kids and adults.

Review: Rocket Raccoon #1-4: A Chasing Tale
By Skottie Young
All Ages
Marvel Comics, June 2014
22 pgs ea., $3.99 ea.

Rocket Raccoon takes place after the events in the movie. Rocket is trying to impress his latest date, a princess, by taking her to a wrestling match where Groot is competing. But when he’s put on the big screen, he is identified as a wanted raccoon and has to go on the run. He knows he hasn’t killed anyone (lately), so he sets out to find out who’s framing him. Meanwhile, some girl troubles come back to haunt him in a big way.

I loved Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy, so when this series was announced, I had to pick it up. Rocket seemed like he would be the comedy relief character, but he turned out to be so much more. This first story arc does a good job of capturing that. He’s on the run for a lot of it, using his size and agility to get the best of his pursuers, but he’s also shown to have a emotional side. As far as he knows, he is the only one of his kind, and being alone gets to him. It’s almost disconcerting to see him so upset when he is confronted with it. He’s more than a tough, smart-talking, braggart. I really enjoyed seeing him as a more rounded character.

His buddy Groot doesn’t fare too well either. He gets blown to splinters twice, but a splinter is all it takes to bring him back. The conversations between Groot and Rocket were funny at times, as we can only speculate what Groot is saying from Rocket’s responses. Also funny was the Ex-Terminators, a league of Rocket’s ex-girlfriends who are out for revenge after he wooed them for their money and then ran. I loved in the final battle that Rocket had no problem taking on a bunch of girls. I get so tired of the “I can’t hit a woman,” or having the two women fight so the man doesn’t have to. Granted, Rocket is a raccoon, but he’s a male raccoon, and nothing stops him and Amalya from going toe to toe.

Young’s art is very playful. He comes up with a lot of different aliens for Rocket to encounter and deal with. He throws in visual jokes all of the place that both kids and adults will appreciate. He also has little notes scrawled in the panels to help them along, such as pointing to something in a panel, saying “This is important” and shows why in the next.

Rocket and many of the characters in the universe use off-color language, all of which is depicted with the usual cartoon symbols, leaving it up to the reader to fill-in-the blanks. The violence is also very cartoonish, with one battle being shown as a cloud with arms, heads and various weapons popping out. He is also very conscientious to point out when something is not blood.

This first arc of Rocket Raccoon turned out to be a really fun read. The other Guardians only make appearances at the beginning and end, but it’s fun when they do. There is also a great twist at the end to keep the reader coming back for the next arc. If you or your kid were a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, definitely pick this series up. It has the same rolicking adventure feel, with all the same excitement and emotion. And it’s about a raccoon and a walking tree that says one phrase. How can anyone pass this up?

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Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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