REVIEW: All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #9 “Rocket and Groot, BFFs for Life”

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Writer: Gerry Duggan
Penciller: Mike Hawthorne
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Cory  Petit
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 09/06/17
Rating: T+

Guardians of the Galaxy

Plot: This flashback issue shows the circumstances leading to Groot’s reduction. Also we also get some info on the hooded man building his own Groot army. Basically this issue is a classic Rocket & Groot caper until it takes an ugly turn.

Story: The main takeaway from this issue is the introduction of the Gardner. Since the start of the series, the Gardner harvested Groot’s remains for his own army. Unfortunately this character has not interacted with the Guardians of the Galaxy yet. Prior to this issue, most of his scenes have just been end tags. The interesting thing about the Gardner is his knowledge of Groot’s species. The Gardner only calls Groot by his species name, Flora Colossus. Plus he claims to be restoring Groot to his original purpose. From the current Guardians series, we’ve seen his harvested Groots acting savage and destructive. This could be a reference to the first appearance of Groot in Tales to Astonish when the character was just another Silver Age monster. Nevertheless, the mystery of the Gardner is what keeps this title interesting.

Gerry Duggan’s does an excellent job writing Rocket Raccoon in this issue. Duggan keeps Rocket’s usual smart-ass attitude but allows him genuine moments of concern when Groot is attacked. If you liked Duggan’s Deadpool run then you’ll enjoy his work with Rocket. Also Duggan’s humorous dialogue helps keep the story moving at a steady pace.

The only problem I have with this issue is also a problem I have with this title in general. Even though the creative team has provided some entertaining stories there hasn’t been much progress in the overall plot. The title keeps flip-flopping between stories featuring the entire Guardians of the Galaxy and stories spotlighting one member. However the creative team is most likely stalling so they can start moving the story forward during Marvel Legacy.

Art: Mike Hawthorne delivers a cool design of a fully grown Groot. Also Hawthorne does an excellent job with facial expressions. Since Groot can only say one sentence, his emotions and tone can only be expressed through his face. Thankfully Hawthorne knocks it out of the park. Plus there’s a little face added to a splinter of Groot which is a nice detail.

Jordie Bellaire does a fantastic work with the issue’s coloring. He knows how to get the lighting right for each scene. Plus he does a good job keeping most of the Gardner’s appearance shrouded for most of the issue. There’s also a great shot of Rocket’s face when he notices the Groot splinter in his hand. This one shot managed to capture how Rocket’s determination to always bring back his best friend.

Verdict: This issue is a fun Rocket and Groot adventure. It does give more information about why Groot has not grown since the start of the series. Plus it introduces the Gardner who the rest of the Guardians may encounter down the road. However this issue continues this title’s problem of a non-cohesive plot. Overall, this is a good read for new readers and Rocket and Groot fans.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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