When you look at the comic book publishing schedule, it’s easy to get the impression that Marvel to oversell the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. This last week, they published both the debut issues of two ongoing solo titles featuring members of the group. The first one of these, Legendary Star-Lord, is apparently decent enough, but I personally have no interest in picking it up. But the second one, Rocket Racoon, has the advantage of being made by Skottie Young.
Young is not a typical Marvel comic artist. His style is breezy and light and has an innocent feel to it. Which explains why he is best known for illustrating children’s books as well as a series of Land of Oz books adaptations.
That doesn’t mean that his version of Rocket Racoon is particularly child-friendly. Rocket is a gun-toting womanizer, and there’s a lot of innuendo here as well as some tough guy-talking gratuitous violence. It’s very cartoony violence, though, played for laughs, and the cursing is censored. Despite the violence, the comic also maintains Skottie Young’s elegance. This scene is an excellent example of that:
Rocket, an alien humanoid racoon, has a confusing history in comic books, but the premise in this book is that he’s an adventurer from the Guardians of the Galaxy group who sometimes go on adventures as a freelancer. Very often, it seems, his solo freelance adventures consist in rescuing alien princesses, which he then seduces. The book starts off with a scene that goes like that, then we fast forward to Rocket taking another girl on a date. The date is going disastrous enough before it turns into a disaster for real when space cops finds him and starts chasing him for murders that he, despite his track record, can’t remember having committed.
The story is quite simple, but Young writes this comic as a humor book, and it works very well in regard. I can’t remember Young being much of a writer before, but in this book has some suave and clever comedy dialogue. He knows exactly what kind of character Rocket Racoon is supposed to be – sarcastic, witty and full of himself - and seems to have a great time writing his lines. So far, that seems to be the comic’s strongest suit – Second, of course, to Young’s beautiful art. It has the right ambition level, and is entertaining enough to make me want to come back for more.
Rocket Racoon # 1 (Marvel Comics)
By Skottie Young. Inked by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Price $ 3.99 / NOK 28