Graphic Novel Review: Groot


Groot - Credit: Archant

You’d have to be barking to leaf this classic on the shelf...

(Panini Books)

The comics marketplace is glutted with spin-offs from the Guardians of the Galaxy, with solo titles featuring the likes of Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Drax and Gamora, a team-up book bringing members together with Earth-bound Marvel heroes, and even a book based on the original Guardians team from the 31st century. So is there really a need for yet another series, especially one focusing on the walking tree Groot, a character perhaps best known for his three word vocabulary.

Surprisingly, the answer is not only a resounding ‘yes’, but there is an accompanying argument that this series is perhaps the strongest and most entertaining Guardians comic that has been published to date, it’s just that good!

Writer Jeff Loveness, perhaps best known for his award-winning work on US TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live, but also a contributor to The Onion News Network, succeeds in crafting a six-part story which is humorous and touching, revelatory and thought-provoking, and able to bring home messages about friendship and loyalty which never seem forced or contrived. He is ably supported by artist and animator Brian Kesinger (Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph and Tea Girls), whose contribution has a cartoon simplicity which perfectly suits Loveness’ script.

The story itself is relatively simple, Rocket and Groot’s road trip to Earth is interrupted by the intervention of a ruthless bounty hunter, who kidnaps the gun-toting rodent and forces Groot to seek the support of new allies to free his pal.

But as with all of the best quests, it’s the journey which is important, as Groot finds himself teaming up with the Silver Surfer and his girlfriend Dawn to save an alien civilisation, motivating a service robot to find a new purpose in life, and giving a cause and direction to a trio of incompetent Skrulls.

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We also discover how Rocket and Groot became friends, how the raccoon managed to learn the nuances and vocal inflections which make the phrase “I am Groot!” make sense, and the event which prompted the giant tree person to turn his back on his entire race and their goals of planetary conquest.

A wonderful, life-affirming book, and one which deserves a much wider audience than the core Guardians fans it is aimed at. Pick up a copy now, you really won’t regret it.