Comic Book Review – Rocket #1 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: Minor spoilers.

“When the vault door blew, Rocket knew it was all up” Narrator

Another Marvel film, another tie-in. With the outstanding Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 now out Marvel are naturally cashing in on its success with a new series of comics of the beloved characters. Rocket naturally picks up Rocket Racoon’s story, Rocket’s character arc in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is truly great so I wasn’t able to say no. This was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Al Ewing
  • Artists – Adam Gorham
  • Colourist – Michael Garland
  • Letterer – Jeff Eckleberry
  • Cover – Mike Mayhew

Cover art by Mayhew

So what’s Marvel’s take on the lovable trash-panda? Naturally a heist. With the Guardians currently disbanded Rocket finds himself in a hive of scum and villainy in some far off planet full of low lives. Who does he meet? The ex-love of his life who got him locked up in jail a while back when he used to make a living cracking safes, relaxing on a beach, rinsing and repeating.

The issue is written in the style of a heist movie, with the quirky band of people with very specific skill sets… and an egg… pooling their talents to bust into a high tech facility and bust open an unbeatable safe, with a few unexpected twists thrown in. There’s also a narrator who provides an insight into Rocket’s inner thoughts, adding a touch of additional humour to the issue. We get to see a glimpse into Rocket’s past as well, seeing what he was like before he became a…. hero? Needless to say, he hasn’t exactly changed too much over the years.

Art by Gorham, Garland & Eckleberry

The art fits the tone of the issue. There’s a weird and wonderful cast of background alien characters, Gorham has done a great job of creating an almost fantastical setting in these weird and wonderful worlds. With the Narrator’s input a significant portion of the issue is given over to that as opposed to the regular comic panels. There’s a risk with these sorts of tropes that too much blank space is used and it detracts from the story. This is not the case in Rocket. Eckleberry manages to present the text in a simple but effective way which only adds to the story.

Right, important questions. Can Gorham draw hands? Define hand. With so many weird and wonderful aliens throughout the issue there are plenty of hands, claws, paws and everything else. Where conversations are had Gorham has done a good job of communicating through body language and adding depth to the characters. 8.5/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

This is a lot of fun. I wouldn’t expect this to reshape the foundations at Marvel but for something different and an enjoyable read I’d highly recommend it.

Score: 8.75 Raging Chicks out of 10

 

Comic Review – 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #1 (Black Mask Studios)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

Last week I was sent an advance copy of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #1 from Black Mask Studios. written by Matthew Rosenberg, with art by Tyler Boss and letters from Thomas Mauer. This is the first issue of a new  mini-series coming out next week on April 27th, “A coming of age crime caper comic book in 5 parts’. Here’s a nifty trailer from Black Mask about the book…

 

4kids titleIn this first issue of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, we’re introduced to the main cast through their Dungeons & Dragons characters (due to my recent predilections for that game this got my attention very quickly). Paige, Berger, Walter and Stretch are a group of 11 and 12 year old kids, generally arguing, spilling drinks and falling out. When the gang are heading out for ice cream, courtesy of Paige’s dad, a group of thugs turn up at the house. They throw their weight around, make threats and leave. But they start hanging around the kids at school. And it turns out there is a family connection that no one was expecting.

4 Kids… is a really fun, witty and fast paced book. The dialogue from the strong-minded kids is snappy and full of a believable bravado that would make children stand up to genuinely terrifying threats. Threats that don’t have any qualms about hitting kids, or worse. And the book is very funny too. There are a few instances of repeated panels focusing on back and forth dialogue, over the radio and in the car for example, that are excellent examples of well timed comedy. The only drawback of this first issue for me is that it doesn’t seem to actually quite reach the main plot and the titular …Walk into a Bank part, that is the bank heist element to the plot. This is eschewed for set up and character development, which are done very well as a result, but it could have used a more direct connection to the events to come rather than ending on a visual reveal. But that really is a small complaint for an otherwise strong first issue.

4kids1The art from Boss is evocative and expressive, with a retro 80’s feeling complemented with a washed out colour palette, that reminded me overall of comics like Hip Hop Family Tree. There were some really impressive double page spreads too, in particular the hallway scene that showed the two groups facing each other down. The previously mentioned repeating panels showing only slight changes in facial expressions as the characters react to each other were really enjoyable to read.

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank is a really interesting first issue, and this mini series is shaping up to be a lot of fun with a dangerous, yet genuinely funny and charming core. It comes out next week, so head down to your local comic shop or check it online on April 27th.

Score: 8.5 Paper Bags of Beef Stroganoff out of 10