Marvel is a company that knows how to take advantage of hype. The sudden and unexpected success of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy gave Marvel a phenomenal excuse to milk the Guardians comics for all they are worth. They found themselves with a public in love with Groot, hungry for more tales of Rocket Raccoon, anxious to hang out with Star Lord, wanting to train with Gamora, and dying to test Drax. In the light of this, Marvel revamped the Guardians title, launched solo books for Star Lord and Rocket, and by the time 2015 rolled round, fan favourite Groot got his own book.
The idea of giving Groot his own book seems like a strange decision. Despite Groot’s popularity, he is a character that can only say three words. A problem the Rocket Raccoon series by Skottie Young addressed when Groot attempted to tell a campfire story to boy scouts, leading to an admittedly hilarious issue. However, the idea of Groot gaining his own series, makes you think that it will repeatedly lean on that one joke. And while it would be easy to give him his own book and make him just a central plot point, that wouldn’t make it Groot’s story. Writer Jeff Loveness and artist Brian Kesinger took what could have been one drawn out and painful joke, and created a fun, light hearted, and overall enjoyable series.
Spanning 6 issues, the series follows Groot and a reluctant Rocket, stranded in space while trying to make it back to Earth, just so Groot can check off items on his bucket list. The first issue follows the pair as they hitch rides with Skrull’s, steal rockets from dying planets, in a frankly brilliant Superman spoof. Before Rocket is abducted for reward money, and Groot is left drifting off in space. Alone, unsure of where he is, what to do, and knowing that no one will be able to understand him. The rest of the book is an all-out adventure through space. Featuring one off characters, old favourites, quirky situations and hallucinations, and culmination in an exhilarating prison break, and the truly touching revelation as to the real reason why Groot wants to go back to Earth.
At points where you feel as though they are about to tread familiar ground for the second or third time, we get insights into Groot’s mind. Taking the form of genuinely funny hallucinations of the Avengers in Groot form, as well as flashbacks to memories, both tender and cruel.
Loveness writes this story in a wholly fluid and natural style, creating a fun and easy to read story, that is simply a joy to devour. Partnered with Kesinger’s art, makes the book more than worth it. The heavily stylised look of the book, suites the characters and situation perfectly. The look of the characters are incredibly expressive, lending strengths to both the hilarious situations, and emotional turns. The bright and vibrant feel of the art, gives the book and extra boost of energy, making the whole thing an absolute joy to read.
Subtle pop culture references, a crazy prison break, and a cosmic adventure. With the leads of Groot and Rocket, appearances from the Silver Surfer, idiotic but well-meaning Skrulls, and cameos from Captain Marvel, Spider-Man and the X-Men. Groot is a fantastic and light hearted adventure for any Marvel fan, both young and young at heart.