“Rocket Raccoon” Issue #4
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Jorge Coelho
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
If you’re looking for a fun, rough-and-tumble outsider comic with familiar characters at the hilt, look no further than Marvel’s new run of Rocket Raccoon. The fourth issue of the newest arc hit comic shops this week, and it’s still going strong with punchy dialogue, sketchy artwork, and a stripped-from-the-canon storyline that’s refreshingly readable. Sometimes it’s not about breaking new ground with a character, but giving the reader something to slam through that solidifies their love of a favorite familiar face. So, if you like Rocket for his guntoting sarcastic potty mouth, dive into the newest iteration of your favorite fuzzy-faced intergalactic hero.
My biggest complaint with some of the Marvel titles is the reliance on crossover events to drive the plot. Without knowing the last year or so worth of history, a title bloated with heroes and mythos can quickly become unreadable to the casual comic reader. Not so the case with Rocket Raccoon. While the story does introduce more than a few personalities from the MCU, these cameos are just that- bit parts that Rocket pokes fun at as he tears around New York searching for a way to get off this blasted Earth. Since he’s not even travelling with the Guardians, Rocket is left to fully fend for himself and rely on his wits and fondness for weaponry to navigate an often hostile environment. Completely removed from main heroes, this too-often supporting character has all the breathing room he needs, and he’s more than capable of carrying his own title thank-you-very-much.
This rough-and-tumble title is all about escape. First, Rocket is looking just to escape Earth and head to a less hostile planet- people everywhere mistake him for a raccoon (which drives him bonkers), the guns are sub-par at best, and the food leaves much to be desired. This pilot would much rather be careening through space with a ship full of weaponry then stuck on a rock where people treat him like a rodent. In his search for other interplanetary species who might be able to help, however, Rocket learns that aliens are being rounded up and hunted, and he quickly finds himself on the hit list. (Spoiler: This is handled by the best use of Kraven the Hunter I’ve seen since his appearance in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl). Rocket’s focus is then shifted to being on the run through the streets of New York from both the threat of capture and from the police force because- surprise, surprise- he’s crashing into, blowing up, and shooting everything in his path. Despite his stature, Rocket packs his signature big punch, commandeering whatever vehicles or weaponry he can get his paws on. The chase sequences are where this character really shines, forcing Rocket to swear, scramble, and smash his way out of sticky situations. It’s been a series of close calls and fun encounters exhibiting Rocket’s breakout resourcefulness all the way to issue four.
The creative team on this book do a great job capturing what made Rocket Raccoon fun to watch in the Guardians of the Galaxy film while adding a signature art style that makes it a refreshingly unique Marvel read. Here, clean and crisp heavily-digital artwork styles are shied away from, and Jorge Coelho lets his lines show. The result is dynamic. The heavy texture helps hair, grime, and debris fly from the page. While sometimes organic forms err on the side of being a bit blocky, the perspective in city scenes is impeccably handled, seamlessly transitioning from bird’s eye view shots, ground up crouches behind cars, and wide panoramics. Colorist Antonio Fabela pushes shows where they need to be to add depth to the panels, and his complimentary pallets on backgrounds allow Rocket, all brown and black fur, to pop out from the page when necessary. The icing on the exploding cake that is this book lies in Matthew Rosenburg’s ability to re-create the punchy dialogue that made Rocket Raccoon so much fun to watch on-screen. The wry wit doesn’t miss a beat in this comic, making Rocket’s heckling banter the cornerstone of every action sequence. The result is a quippy, fast-paced, grumbling good time.
Rocket Raccoon is a refreshingly readable addition to Marvel’s current line-up of titles. Unabashedly full of chase-scenes, explosions, and ridicule, you’re in for a wild ride that still hasn’t let up by the fourth issue. Character cameos are fun little additions to Rocket’s run through New York City without taking away from the story’s momentum or requiring too much from less familiar readers. While we’re not breaking the mold with this title, sometimes it’s nice to just go for a romp and destroy the Statue of Liberty, y’know? This Grounded arc plants its feet at a solid 7.5/10.
Chris is the owner of The Sidekick comic shop/coffee bar in Toronto. You can find her there under a mountain of books, doing shots of espresso off the bar.When she’s not in the shop, Chris does freelance illustration work and tours the city’s outdoor space with her dog Cooper.
Her favorite fandoms feature giant monsters.