The Marvel library is a deep one, especially when it comes to cosmic entities created in the 70’s and 80’s. That’s partly because the cosmic side of the universe was huge in those decades, but has been barely touched since. With the Guardians of the Galaxy making cosmic characters cool again writers like Al Ewing can bring back oldies but goodies. That happens in this issue, which might be one of the coolest aspects of the entire read.
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Adam Gorham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
GET READY FOR A LIFE OF SPACECRIME! It’s a dirty universe out there, even when you’re not regularly mistaken for trash-foraging vermin. And it’s about to get dirtier. He thought his paws were clean, that he was on the up-and-up. But then an old flame swam back into his life, and he was back in the game… the heist game. If you need a safe cracked, a vault busted or a score taken…ask for Rocket. Just don’t call him a raccoon.
Why does this book matter?
Rocket is possibly the most famous animal character in the world due to the huge success of the Marvel films. Any comic with him in it means more attitude, heart, and action packed heists. Add in the fact this issue reveals things about his past and you have a worthy read indeed.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
You might dig the prose for the most part.
If you’ve never heard of Technet I strongly suggest you look it up on Wikipedia. It’s a slice of 80’s Marvel that may bring back the warm and fuzzies. They play a big part in this issue, which is strongly written by Al Ewing. The writing takes a different form with prose running down the left side of the page throughout the issue. This effectively gives it a more serious feel as the prose probes Rocket’s internal monologue. The meaningfulness of the prose is necessary as he reflects on a lost love, meeting Star-Lord for the first time, and divulges other important past events; it’s a different take on the character and should surprise most fans of Rocket Raccoon.
The actual plot of the issue isn’t bad either. It involves an impossible vault that needs breaking into and with Rocket going it alone in this issue (not even Groot is around!) the character ends up finding a new team. There’s an Ocean’s Eleven feel to a portion of this issue with Ewing writing each of his new team members very well through dialogue; they talk in different ways and with differing accents which helps accentuate their personalities. Hell, even the robot guarding the vault has an accent. It adds a bit of color to the characters you don’t normally see.
Adam Gorham draws this issue in a grittier style with a good use of shadow, which gives the title a somewhat seedy look that suits the lifestyle of Rocket. There are a lot of different types of aliens throughout which have interesting looks and help flesh out the space setting. For some reason the creators wanted Rocket in a button down shirt and suit jacket, which at first glance is strange, but Gorham makes it believable. Maybe he’s the Danny Ocean of the team hence the duds? It suits the story given how different it flows with prose.
Movie Rocket loves to kill. Comic Rocket not so much.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I was surprised to find little humor in this issue and when a big joke does drop near the end it falls completely flat. The character doesn’t have to be humorous by any means, but it’s surprising to say the least. The lack of humor becomes more obvious due to the slower pace of the issue and the recurring tropes thrown in. A heist, a long lost fling, a down on his luck hero…these are things we’ve seen a thousand times before. Technet adds a layer that’s quite fun, but all in all the issue drags.
Is It Good?
I liked this issue, but didn’t love it. Technet is a nice addition to the narrative, and it’s a shock to see Rocket’s heartbreak, but there are tropes we’ve seen many times before in a narrative that drags. The prose style is a nice touch, but as first issues go I’m looking forward to forgetting this issue and moving on to issue #2.