Thursday, July 9, 2009

First Issue Spectacular - Rocket Raccoon

Until Rocket Raccoon popped up in last year's Annihilation: Conquest crossover, I thought he was nothing more that a silly joke in Marvel's continuity backwater. One of those characters like Dr. Bong or Madcap that might make an appearance now and then, but could never be taken seriously nor sustain constant appearances. Oh how wrong I was. But this isn't about where he is now, let's turn back the clock and check out the first issue in his titular mini-series:

The issue starts with a giant toy-making lizard being assassinated by a killer clown, and only gets crazier from there thanks to the mad genius that is Bill Mantlo.

As the clown assassin (or would that be assassin clown?) tries to make a getaway, he's slowed by the large simian army residing outside the toymaker's domain until finally being shot dead by Blackjack O'Hare, the feared (but adorable) mercenary.

Standing over the clown's charred remains, the snake-like Lord Dyvyne swears vengeance on whoever tries to take over his toy empire!

Wait. What?

That's right, setting the standard for the Star Wars Prequels, the Rocket Raccoon mini-series uses trade routes and profit margins as a way to et the plot rolling. It's shocking this wasn't heralded as an instant classic.

Anyway, from here we meet our hero, Rocket Raccoon, as he lazily frolics in the water with his lovely otter love interest, Lylla

His fun is rudely interrupted as he's called to duty by a few of the local crazies. That's right, apparently somewhere along the way the psychiatrists decided the best way to handle their toughest cases wasn't drugs or asylums, but rather it was to launch them into space to settle their own star system to be doted on my sentient animals as to not spread their crazy to the rest of the galaxy. I'm sure the paperwork was a killer on that one.

So Lord Dyvyne implicates his competitor and asks Rocket to go check it out. As it turns out, that competitor is also Rocket's main squeeze's caretaker, Judson Jakes, someone she swears couldn't be evil. Rocket doesn't seem to care though, and goes to check it out anyway, just in case, because there would be nothing worse for their world than a slowdown in toy production (which is totally true, just check out any toy board when they can't find the toy they want).

As Rocket flies into the space warehouse, he promptly finds himself under attack by Judson and his Psycho Circus (not affiliated with KISS' Psycho Circus)

A quick battle later it's revealed that Judson intends marrying Rocket's otter lover, taking her riches for his own, and will stop anyone who gets in his way. But, as it turns out, the sexiest otter alive was kidnapped by Dyvyne who also wants to marry her for her money and power.

Now the companies rest on the brink of war with only Rocket in the middle to keep the piece and everyone else's hands off his sexy friend.

Now that was an inventive first issue. It rides that weird line between being just for kids (what with the furry animals, toys, and all) and opening up to a more mature audience (what with the trade routes, profit margins, and assassinations) without totally alienating either side. Of course, it doesn't completely gel, but that's why most of Rocket's past is not talked about these days.

Now if I could only find the rest of the issues to see how crazy the later issues got...


  1. I read this as the B-story in Marvel UK Transformers, years ago, and I loved it back then, absolutely classic.

    Ironic that my favourite author, Dan Abnett, is writing him now!

  2. I think it's more ironic that he's found life in this new 'more realistic' Marvel Universe.

    I'm tempted to pick up that new miniseries starring him and Groot just for the sheer audacity of it.

  3. Thanx so much for the really cool Review!

    This was a mini series of 4 issues by Bill Mantlo, Mike Mignola and myself.