Rocket Raccoon & Groot: Civil War II

Despite that delays mean the main Civil War II series won’t wrap for a couple months yet, collected editions of the tie-ins are rolling out, including Rocket Raccoon & Groot.

After a misadventure involving the not-as-it-seems death of Rocket’s grifting mentor, the title pair head to Earth in response to Captain Marvel’s Civil War II summons. And then immediately skip out on the fight. Instead, Rocket and Groot head to Georgia in pursuit of a bounty on a fugitive alien hiding out on Earth. They cross paths with fourth wall-breaking Gwenpool, but quickly realize the bounty isn’t as it seems and that the fugitive may be trying to protect Captain Marvel herself from a bigger threat.

Writer Nick Kocher does some entertaining work with this volume of Rocket Raccoon & Groot. He captures the spirit that Skottie Young brought to the book, riffing on a cornucopia of genre tropes, with lots of witty dialogue, absurdist plot turns and fun-filled action sequences. Kocher uses the bond between his leads quite effectively and if no one’s grown emotionally by the end of the arc, fans have been treated to an amusing action/comedy spectacle. Kocher manages a decent balancing act of commenting on the realities of the comic book industry without becoming so meta and insidery that it’s alienating.

Michael Walsh, working with inker Josh Hixson and colorists Cris Peter and Michael Garland, nails the visuals quite effectively. There’s an appealing cartoonish quality to the art that suits the tone of the stories quite well. The action is fluid, with straight-forward layouts and a strong storytelling sense. But Walsh also packs lots of entertaining details into his panels, helping to sell the absurdity of a series starring a talking raccoon and a walking tree.

As with other recent Marvel volumes, the publisher’s re-launch mania limits the number of issues available for collection. The four installments of this arc are padded out with the Incredible Hulk issue from the early ’80s that first introduced Rocket. It’s interesting enough, but continues to underline the tricky value proposition with many of Marvel’s recent trade collections.

For fans, though, Rocket Raccoon & Groot: Civil War II is an entertaining ride that makes the most of its colorful, offbeat stars.

Author (Grievous Angels) and pop culture gadabout #amwriting

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