Marvel continues its re-launch of the Guardians of the Galaxy with a new, free digital comic from their Infinite line, Rocket Raccoon. This is the second comic following on from their first Guardians/Infinite issue which featured Drax, and introduces maybe the most intriguing character in the line-up, an intelligent, talking raccoon with guns.
Like the Drax issue, Brian Michael Bendis has chosen to set this comic in a bar with Rocket regaling the barflies with tales from his past before hitting on a bar chick and ending in a fight outside the bar. Bendis’ vision of these new Guardians seems less heroic and more like they’re space townies, which I find strangely endearing. The nod to Rocket’s convoluted backstory is nice too – hopefully Bendis will jettison most of it and come up with something better (back when the character was first conceived Rocket had a companion who was a talking walrus called Wal Russ – yup, let’s lose that shall we?).
Ming Doyle draws the hell out of this issue. Her Rocket is cartoon-y without being overly cartoonish, and his face and body are both really unexpectedly expressive. When he’s speaking atop the bar he kind of looks like he stepped from the pages of “Fantastic Mr Fox”, as if he were in Mr Bean’s cellar swigging cider.
The art is great but what puts it over the top are the layouts by Yves Bigerel who puts it all together seamlessly. The comic is part of Marvel’s Infinite range (comics specially designed to be read on a screen) so reading this is different from reading a regular comic. Quite often the background to a panel won’t change but Rocket might move or speech bubbles will appear so at times it feels almost animated. It especially feels so towards the end when Rocket discovers there are others like him (he believed he was the last of his kind) and the scene ends in a way reminiscent of “Attack of the Clones”. Despite the Star Wars prequel flavour, it’s an excellently put together sequence that Doyle and Bigerel nail perfectly.
It’s an excellent comic that gives you a taste of what to expect from this character before the main series begins and gives you an idea of his personality and motivations. Rocket’s personality is charmingly off-beat from his cutesy appearance and Ming Doyle’s artwork is as top notch as ever. Well worth a look for all Guardians fans, especially newcomers.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Infinite Comics #2: Rocket Raccoon by Brian Michael Bendis and Ming Doyle is out now and available for free download at http://www.comixology.com/Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Infinite-Comic-2/digital-comic/DIG003424
This article was first posted on March 22, 2013