Rocket Raccoon #1 is the debut issue of the character’s first solo ongoing series. Part 1 of “A Chasing Tale” begins three years ago with a typical day in the life of our hero: stealthily boarding a space ship and blowing up a pair of guards in order to save a princess. Once the damsel is no longer in distress, a jump to the present finds Rocket taking a break from his usual guarding of the galaxy. He is with another lovely lady, but this time, on a date. The location? An intergalactic wrestling arena where Rocket’s best pal and fellow Guardian happens to be part of the main event. Rocket seems more interested in supporting his friend by yelling out obscene suggestions of how to handle the contender and only tries to woo his date as an afterthought. Just as things start to get sort of romantic, the cops show up. It seems that Rocket is wanted for a murder he claims he didn’t commit. The commotion distracts Groot, leading to bad things happening in the ring. Groot’s opponent is none too pleased by all this and ends up taking it out on the police, allowing the heroes to escape. Rocket then calls his friend Star Lord for help in figuring out why he’s a wanted. It turns out that Rocket may not be the only one of his kind, and the other(s) may be killers. Of course, Rocket admits, he is too, but he’s always had a reason. After running from the police for a while, he gets the bright idea to turn himself in. The real killer watches as Rocket is taken away, and we find out why his date was motivated to go out with him in the first place.
Rocket Raccoon is written and drawn by Skottie Young, probably best known for his Marvel baby covers. Young’s art is cartoonish and kinetic, like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon. The space ships, galactic locales and numerous aliens depicted in this issue would be at home in a Dr. Seuss book. But the style fits the action packed adventure story perfectly. It’s even toned down a little in the few quieter moments, like when Rocket contemplates his options, alone in a sewer. Young’s art is only made sweeter by the colors of Jean-Francois Beaulieu. His wide ranging palette gives us bright, almost loud, colored aliens, and even shows that there’s more to the coldness of space than pitch black.
This book is centered around a character that is meant to be fun, and Young takes full advantage of that fact by amping up the silliness in both the story and art. From Groot’s wrestling match with a tentacled green slime monster, to Star Lord and Drax’s misadventures with a giant horned pink beast, the issue is consistently entertaining. This makes for a great inaugural issue and I look forward to seeing more of Rocket’s adventures.