When not fighting injustice and getting into scrapes with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot the living tree likes to hangout and get into scrapes with his best buddy, Rocket. Deciding he has business to take care of on Earth, Groot takes Rocket along for the galactic version of a road-trip, a task they can’t seem to do without getting into a scrape at every given opportunity.
In their bid for world domination and the confidence that comes with the knowledge that they are already well on their way to achieving it, Marvel have found the stones to produce a solo book for a character who’s vocabulary extends to the words, “I”, “am” and “Groot”.
That’s not really fair, as, for this issue at least, our favourite tree is accompanied by his partner in crime, Rocket Racoon; much as the reverse was true for Rocket’s (semi) solo book.
That aforementioned comic, created by current cartoonist legend, Skottie Young, heftily contributed to a sort of cartoony wing of the Marvel universe that allows the kind of antics usually confined to Loony Toons productions, only with a superheroic spin. This isn’t a particularly new thing for Marvel to do, but they’ve never really applied it to an ongoing book, never mind two at once, both featuring the same characters.
Embracing this absurdity with the proviso that it’s balanced with just as much heart, Marvel have looked outside their usual creators to find talent that might bring something new to the mix.
If you’ve never heard of writer Jeff Loveness, you can be forgiven as he’s so far only had one major story and a few shorts at Marvel. The Inhumans crossover project he did earlier this year impressed with it’s fresh, heartfelt and genially funny approach to such characters as Spider-Man and Captain America, not surprising really when you consider his day job is being a staff writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live. With Groot he’s very much taken the same humour approach as Young did on Rocket Racoon, only he seems to be, quite expertly for someone so new to comics, crafting a longform story via a chain of humorous/nerdy skits.
These skits are being brought to life by another comic newb, Brian Kesinger, who, being a veteran of Disney animation, brings suitably inventive and extremely expressive visuals that makes each panel cheesy-grin inducing, even if they aren’t as stylistically cool as Skottie Young’s work.
These ongoing comparisons to the Rocket book may be unfounded by the second issue where the story looks to be taking a significant turn into the purely Groot, which should make for very different storytelling tactic, but we’ll just have to see about that. As it stands with just one issue as evidence, Groot is a very similar book which nonetheless should be fun, funny and entertaining to readers of all ages. I’ll be sticking with it and you should be giving it a look, especially since the rest of the Marvel universe is all tangled up in the Secret Wars.