It’s time for an early/late addition of the All-New, All-New Different Marvel Rundown. Marvel shipped a select few comics early including Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1, this week’s exclusive #1! This week we’re exclusively taking a look at this one comic following up on the previous week’s spotlight on Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat #1.

While the first Rocket Raccoon series was a crown jewel in Marvel when the All-New Marvel NOW! title officially launched, quality and interest faded slightly as the series went on. When the publisher announced an ongoing series for Groot, it was hard not to roll my eyes. After all, it has been previously established in many comics that these heroes work best together, as the last Rocket Raccoon featured Groot in just about every issue. However, this latest volume of Rocket Raccoon sees Marvel making a wise decision; the characters both share the headline with Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1. Skottie Young (Rocket Raccoon) is overseeing writing duties on this new project alongside interior artist Felipe Andrade (Figment.) With both characters now sharing the limelight how does the new comic fair?

For a comic about Rocket Raccoon and Groot, this first installment in the ongoing is focused heavily on continuity. With the Secret Wars aspects being prevalent in the comic itself, I would really like to see if any of the payoff from that event directly affected anything in this comic book. Writer Skottie Young has this initial chapter of the new Rocket and Groot title structured in an interesting manner. The story is told in three phases that seemingly don’t have anything to do with each other, in fact I’m really not sure if the different narrative scenes in this comic book is going to mesh together in a suitable way. The beginning sequence and ending sequences have an odd flow in relation to each other, however most of these post-Secret Wars  eight months later comics pick up with a more disorienting flow. The timing of this story is also ill-suited as the new status quo crafted for Rocket Racoon and Groot has been seen in other Marvel comics that shipped very closely in line with this title – with so many comics shipped in the eight months later status quo, this is likely an unfortunate coincidence. Guardians of the Galaxy #1 and Howard the Duck #2 still both used some of the same tricks that lessened the impact of the comic overall.

Young also wisely incorporates his own art in the comic on the inventive credit sequence. Comics like the recent Loki: Agent of Asgard and current Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, are just two examples of credits page that engross readers with a captivating image and a quick recap of what happened previously. Unfortunately, this credits/recap page highlights another problem with this comic. If handing off Rocket Racoon and Groot #1 to the reader blind, an avalanche of questions would probably be hurled your way. This individual would be justified in being so perplexed by this medium’s love of both continuity and the idea of relaunching. The first Rocket Raccoon series didn’t rely as heavily on some of those different influences. In the scene with the Guardians of the Galaxy in this comic, I’m sure some would be confused as to the identities of these characters, not even sure if the group actually are the Guardians if not some alien imposter group of characters. For all it’s flaws, this comic still contains a breezy sense of wonder instilled by some of the voices and quips from the cast. Aspects of the series have weight and tension, but they are leveled out by character interaction.

Felipe Andrade is one of the best chosen artists to convey the ongoing adventures of these two characters. The illustrator’s use of texture and the individual lines that he gives to each character perfectly convey the differences between some of the animals seen in this comic. Just from the reference of visual aid, the ways that the machinery and skin look on the different characters is apparent. A seen later on with visual communication also proves that Young knows how to best utilize the art of Andrade in a given scene. These two creators seem to know how to convey different aspects of these scenes well. There’s a lot of cases of subtle action in this story that is made more tense by the way Andrade draws combined with some of the lettering in the action panels. I’m so glad we can read comics where when someone is throwing someone else the lettering will reflect the gusto of the movement – that trend was lovingly kickstarted back into comics with Ryan Browne (God Hates Astronauts.) The use of shadow in the page from Andrade and colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu (Ozma of Oz) wonderfully arranges itself on different aspects of the page that creates more tension and drama within the story.

For all it’s flaws Rocket Raccoon and Groot is an enjoyable comic that I still wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to someone looking for some wonderful art and a really bright, kid-friendly comic in the Marvel line. It would be an injustice not to commend Marvel as a publisher for having so many bright kid-friendly books on the shelves right now that kick that ’90s grim-dark mentality to the curb. In a matter of issues, I would foresee this comic to return to former glory after more aspects of the story are hopefully revealed.

Next week we return to our normal multi-book format when we see the launch of Marvel’s A-Force, Spider-Man/Deadpool, and Uncanny X-Men#1‘s – I’ll see you then!