Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rocket Raccoon Vol. 1: A Chasing Tale

My introduction to Skottie Young's art came with a precious ARC of Neil Gaiman's wonderfully bizarre and charming Fortunately, the Milk that I snagged at ALA Chicago a few years ago.  It was exuberant, full of expression, and perfectly imperfect.  No one is modelesque or flat-out gorgeous: they have exaggerated features that are cartoonish but not distractingly so.  They remind me a bit of the people in Despicable Me: they could be people, but just kind of ... angular people.

Anyway, I'm sure many, many others have described Young's art with far more intelligence than I have, and it is spot-on perfect for Rocket Raccoon.


I mean, really: you have an anthropomorphic raccoon from outer space who has a passion for the ladies and the guns.  This little furball of bloodthirstiness needs a quirky artist.

I loved everything about this volume.  Young's ability to tell a story with basically no words shines in the issue narrated by Groot--because, obviously, all he says is "I am Groot" with different inflections.  And if you don't love Groot ... then, well, I don't know what to do with you.

The gist of the story is that Rocket is ... you know, being Rocket--ladies' raccoon, occasional-merc-for-hire, Groot's wrestling manager--when he's flagged as a murderer.  Indeed, vids show a raccoon--who must be Rocket, as part of his schtick is that he's the last of his kind--murdering others in cold blood.  Rocket knows he's been set up, so he sets up the setter-uppers (not a real word but who cares? Rocket wouldn't) and catches up with a contact from his murky past.  I don't want to spoil the fun, but everything ends with an extremely satisfying, no-holds barred brawl.

Skottie Young perfectly captures Rocket's insouciant, flip sense of humor.  Rocket's kind of the Han Solo of the Guardians universe: once pretty shady, hangs around with a very large, very incomprehensible alien, currently helping to save the universe.  Handy with a gun and the ladies; not so handy with loan sharks and former mob business partners.  I swear there was a line in there about Rocket working for a giant slug (Jabba???)!

This is an exceedingly well-done comic in a sea of "eh" comics.  Unfortunately, Skottie Young doesn't write Rocket anymore, and the Secret Wars event unleashed Marvels murderous instincts yet again, just to allow for another All-New All-Wow Marvel Reboot to occur.  I guess Marvel Now! wasn't spunky enough or whatever.

But ANYWAY.  Read this and fall in love with your friendly raccoon Casanova space warrior.  And Groot (duh).


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