If you haven’t been reading the current series of Rocket Racoon, you’ve been missing out on some very smart, funny writing and some incredible artwork. Written by Matthew Rosenberg (4 Kids Walk Into A Bank, King Pin), and drawn by Jorge Coelho, with colors by Antonio Fabela and Marcio Menez, the series is currently at its fourth issue, and has been moving ahead at breakneck speed in a plotline that features Kraven the Hunter. Last issue, we watched Rocket try everything imaginable to outwit Kraven in a madcap dash through New York, and this issue, well, it goes well beyond imagination. Well beyond.
The thing I want to say about the character Rocket, who is, of course, incredibly popular despite being mistaken for every type of mammal, and worst of all, a Raccoon by the denizens of earth, is that in essence he is a little ball of chaos. He taps right into the lighter side of a trickster archetype that we need and value so much in comics, particularly. It was only appropriate that the series should be written by Rosenberg, whose creator-owned comics often feature wise-cracking misfit teens, and in his most recent comic, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank, a 12 year old girl who can take on the world.
Rosenberg knows about little balls of chaos and their sidelong glances as perspective on the world. What he does with the character Rocket in this series is amplify those tendencies and try to bring some particular good out of them. Rocket is an asshole, and he wouldn’t be Rocket otherwise. He’s self-serving, gleefully short-tempered, and has a chip on his shoulder of massive proportions. But he moves in a chaotic way, close to the ground, and he sees things. And he comments on them.
This is a comic that is non-stop entertaining, particularly with the through-line of Kraven hunting Rocket, but the rest of the backdrop and plot that surrounds Rocket as a stranded alien on Earth is meaningful–it’s about these aliens being stuck, poor, disenfranchised, taken advantage of, and having to somehow survive and remain resilient. When Rocket finds they are being hunted down for sport, he eventually just can’t stand by, despite his selfish nature. And then he destroys things, because he’s Rocket. And in this issue, he REALLY destroys things, because he’s Rocket, but the little ball of chaos keeps moving until he lands–right where he needs to be. In a refugee camp for aliens who have been more or less thrown in and left to their own devices.
In a countdown to a big plan from Rocket (and you may remember he goes through a similar count-down to enacting his plan in the Guardians of the Galaxy film), we see Rocket arming up to help these folks. And sure, he’s helping himself too, because he’s Rocket, but there’s something else there, too. He proves that a trickster being in the right place at the right time can really, really destroy things, but also maybe, really, really, do some good.
And it’s going to be a melty, fiery good, so stay tuned for issue #5.
Rocket Raccoon #4 is currently out in shops. Rocket Raccoon #5 will arrive in shops on April 26th, and is currently listed in Previews World with item code FEB170913.
[Cover to Rocket Racoon #5 by David Nakayama]