An unlikely hero is now a villain? Rocket Raccoon of Guardians of the Galaxy fame is robbing a bank! Read the details and our opinions on the quality of the world’s most interesting raccoon’s huge heist today in The Marvel Rundown! Plus, we look at a team of heroes banding together to stop Captain America’s Secret Empire in Secret Warriors #1! Won’t you join us for The Marvel Rundown?
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Adam Gorham
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Reviewed by A.J. Frost
What is it with the various Guardians of the Galaxy and retro-future heists? Last week, the newly rebooted Guardians line opened with an epic con job that would make Frank Sinatra’s heart flutter. And this week, in another reintroduction of a solo line, everyone’s favorite smart-mouthed, genetically enhanced Procyon lotor (aka, raccoon), opens a storyline with… you guessed it! A heist that even Sammy Davis Jr. would admire. Yes, Rocket is back, and his love of war tactics and firearms haven’t abated in the slightest. And despite the prospect of yet another comic line reboot, Marvel actually has a winner on their hands here, putting together a fun and garish neo-noir sci-fi yarn that is both visually exciting and dramatically satisfying.
That’s not to say that Rocket #1 is an overly complicated story. It’s a little bit silly, but that’s to be expected from such an outlandish character and concept. I’m not complaining, however. As envisioned from writer Al Ewing and artist Adam Gorham, this new expository tale of Rocket and Co. is a colorful welcome back into the world of the most hot-headed Guardian. Suffused with retro panache and, for the most part, played straight (despite the appearance of admirably bizarre alien supporting characters), this is Rocket at his most pure. Is there any better combination of Rocket’s skills as a strategic genius and weapons expert than when he’s using those skills to infiltrate a high-security vault? I can’t think of one! And the re-introduction of Technet— which was so obscure a reference to me that I had to double check the history—was masterfully executed.
And like most noir tales, ya need a dame that breaks the protagonists, and Rocket #1 fills this trope splendidly. It is odd to think of Rocket, what with his love of gadgets that destroy all type of creature, could have a space in his heart for romantic (non-weaponized) love, but he does. And it’s sweet, in its own twisted way, even if the romance failed miserably. And all the emotional beats, from ultra-cheesy heartache to breakneck action, is all rendered with a unique flair from Gorham. In fact, the art is on point throughout the whole issue, even when the story elements get a little bonkers, which, let’s face it, is one of the reasons to enjoy Rocket’s exploits in the first place.
So, while the utility of yet another Rocket Raccoon solo line might have been questionable, this new issue is proof positive enough that there are still plenty of adventures out there!
Final Verdict: Buy. While not perfect, the story is fun, the art is beautiful and interesting, and the prospects for Rocket-focused adventures seem boundless!
Secret Warriors #1
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Javier Garron
Colors: Israel Silva
Inks: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by Alexander Jones
There’s a looseness to the new Secret Warriors ongoing series that I’m extremely uncomfortable with. Lots of the linework here is imprecise, there are members of the team that are newer heroes (who don’t particularly fit will together) and the non-linear storytelling feels particularly out of place in an issue that’s trying to do so much with so little space. Trying to stitch together the patchwork narrative of the comic and discern why and who this team is becomes next-to-impossible. Launching a book during Secret Empire is a fascinating status quo to explore, but Matthew Rosenberg swaps chronology too often to keep this issue coherent.
After seeing Javier Garron pencil books that look fantastic I could tell from the jump that there was something wrong with his interiors in Secret Warriors #1. The dull color palette from Israel Silva is an incredibly unflattering look to pair with Garron’s art with. However, the pencils themselves seem rushed as the figure work with Daisy Johnson in particular seems lanky. Some of the figures demand more detail especially with facial expressions that contort and expand in all sorts of ugly ways. However, there are some pages and panels that will take your breath away as Garron seems to have lots of fun drawing Devil Dinosaur and some of the bigger action scenes. Some pages and backgrounds are missing details while others are filled with small tricks. If there’s anything I’m really dying to see from Garron going forward, it’s just some form of consistency. Characters look completely different based on which panel you’re looking at in the story.
I wish Rosenberg took his time building to the formation of his team which may have avoided some of the duller aspects of the comic like the subpar cliffhanger. There are a few characters in particular that just seem to join the team because they happen to be present as the rest of the team comes together. Trying to curry favor from readers just based on some of the pre-existing relationships that these characters have is a disappointing way to start off a new book. The implosion of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems like an excellent way to homage the original Secret Warriors series. After finishing the book I can’t imagine that any reader is going to have better understanding of who someone like Inferno is as a character. There is just so much going on here even before you add Ms. Marvel and Moon Girl to the mix.
Fighting the resistance on the ground as part of the Secret Warriors against an evil Captain America is a great premise. However, the inconsistently silly and serious tone of the series is at odds with itself. Secret Warriors #1 fails to bring home the goods and sell readers on why this new team deserves the legacy name or just an ongoing in general. Looking at the overall picture of this series, I’m just not sure what Marvel was trying to accomplish here in general.
Final Verdict: Pass. Secret Warriors #1 lacks polish in both story and art while jamming way too much content into the span of one issue.