Monday, June 8, 2015

Comic Review: Groot #1

Probably the biggest surprise from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie was how much everyone loved Groot; I had expected Rocket to come out as the "surprise" favorite of the movie, but Groot took that place, an impressive feat for a character with such a limited vocabulary. Whether a direct result of that success, it no doubt factors into this new series, where giving a talking tree with a three word vocabulary the lead in an ongoing series, but Marvel has managed to make a lot of crazy work, so why wouldn't they try it here?

The obvious influence for this book is Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and not just because the book literally involves Groot hitchhiking as he and Rocket trying to get somewhere (it's not exactly made clear where they're going). Most of this issue is not just them hitchhiking, but also a series of barely connected, almost random events that form something resembling a plot. By the end, however, it starts to get onto a solid storyline moving forward, suggesting how the series will look after this issue.
A problem with the obvious similarity to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is that it invites comparison, and that is a very difficult comparison to live up to. While their adventures feel like the kind of wacky, random space adventures that were right at home in that book, they don't quite feel like the same spirit of that book, which is hard to define, but also something that sticks out and is hard to ignore. Likely, it's due to the fact that this is a visual story, and most of the appeal of Hitchhiker's Guide came from wordplay, causing a somewhat direct adaptation of that style not to work.

I wanted to like this book when I picked it up, and I'll probably keep it going for a couple more issues, especially since the end suggested that the series as a whole is not going to look just like this issue. For the most part, though, if you want something like this, there is a Rocket Raccoon series that has been going on for a while longer now, and that comic feels like a much more successful version of what this is trying to be.

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