Rocket Raccoon

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Rocket Raccoon
Rocketraccoon.png
Rocket Raccoon, from the cover of Annihilation Conquest: Star-Lord #2
Art by Nic Klein.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Marvel Preview #7 (Summer 1976)
Created by Bill Mantlo
Keith Giffen
In-story information
Place of origin Halfworld
Team affiliations Guardians of the Galaxy
Abilities Master tactician and field commander
Expert marksman
Accomplished starship pilot

Rocket Raccoon is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Keith Giffen, the character first appeared in Marvel Preview #7 (Summer 1976). He is an intelligent, anthropomorphic raccoon, who is an expert marksman and master tactician. His name and aspects of his character are a nod to the Beatles' 1968 song "Rocky Raccoon".

Rocket Raccoon appeared as a prominent member in the 2008 relaunch of the superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy. The character has appeared in several media adaptations as a member of that team, including animated television series, toys, and video games. He appears in the 2014 live-action film Guardians of the Galaxy, with his voice provided by Bradley Cooper.

Publication history[edit]

The character was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen,[1] and consciously inspired by the Beatles song "Rocky Raccoon".[2] Other references to the song were featured in Rocket's appearance in The Incredible Hulk #271 (May 1982), which was titled "Now Somewhere In the Black Holes of Sirius Major There Lived a Young Boy Named Rocket Raccoon" and saw the Hulk help Rocket stop a villain trying to steal "Gideon's Bible", which in the Marvel Universe was a book that contained the sum of all knowledge on the Loonies colony.[3]

Rocket Raccoon first appeared in Marvel Preview #7 (Summer 1976), in the back-up feature "The Sword in the Star", under the name "Rocky".[4][5] He would next appear in The Incredible Hulk #271 (May 1982), where it is learned that "Rocky" is short for "Rocket". In 1985, he received his own four-issue limited series and in an afterword to the first issue, Mantlo himself asserted that this was the same character seen in Preview, penciled by Mike Mignola and inked by Al Gordon with Al Milgrom. Rocket appeared in Quasar #15 in 1990 and later appeared in three issues of Sensational She-Hulk in 1992 (#44-46).[3] The character only appeared in a total of ten comic books in his first thirty years of existence.[6]

Besides a brief appearance in a 2006 issue of Exiles,[3] Rocket Raccoon was next seen in 2007's Annihilation: Conquest and Annihilation: Conquest - Star-Lord limited series,[3][7] and their spin-off series, a new volume of Guardians of the Galaxy.[3][8] He remained a regular member of the series cast until it was canceled with issue 25 in 2010, also appearing in the follow-up limited series The Thanos Imperative.[4] Along with fellow Guardian Groot, Rocket starred in backup features in Annihilators #1-4 (Mar-Jun 2011) and Annihilators: Earthfall #1-4 (Sept-Dec 2011).[4]

Rocket Raccoon, along with the other members of the Guardians, appeared in issues #4-8 of Avengers Assemble,[9] a series intended as a jumping-on point for fans of the film The Avengers.[10] He appears prominently in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, a part of the Marvel NOW! relaunch.[11]

In February 2014, it was announced that Skottie Young will be the writer and artist for a Rocket Raccoon ongoing series.[12] The series began in July 2014, with the first issue selling over 300,000 copies.[citation needed] Beginning with issue five, Jake Parker took over art duties.[citation needed]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Rocket Raccoon #1 (May 1985). Cover art by Mike Mignola and Al Gordon.

Rocket Raccoon acts as the "Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant", an area of outer space sealed off from the rest of the cosmos by the so-called Galacian Wall. Rocket is captain of the starship Rack 'n' Ruin, and he and his first mate Wal Russ (a talking walrus) come from the planet Halfworld in the Keystone Quadrant, an abandoned colony for the mentally ill where the animal companions were genetically manipulated to grant them human level intelligence and bipedal body construction for many to become caretakers of the inmates. Rocket was Halfworld's chief law officer ("ranger") who protected the colony against various threats.[13]

At one point, Judson Jakes tried to steal the Halfworld Bible, but was thwarted by Rocket and the Hulk.[13] Later, Lord Dyvyne abducted Rocket's friend Lylla, and Jakes began the Toy War.[14] As the Toy War continued, Blackjack O'Hare teamed up with Rocket, and Rocket was reunited with Lylla.[15] The Rack 'n' Ruin was soon destroyed, as Judson Jakes and Lord Dyvyne teamed up to kill Rocket Raccoon.[16] Rocket Raccoon and his friends cured the Loonies of their mental illnesses, as Judson Jakes and Lord Dyvyne were apparently killed. Rocket and the animals as well as the robots left Halfworld and took off into space for their own adventures.[17] Some time later, Rocket was revealed to have been a laboratory subject on the Stranger's planet, and escaped his captivity there.[18]

Rocket Raccoon resurfaced as a member of the team chosen to accompany Star-Lord on his mission to stop a Phalanx infiltration of the Kree homeworld.[19] Rocket is depicted as a gifted military tactician who is fearless, loyal, and insightful. It is heavily implied that he has a case of obsessive compulsive disorder.[20] Rocket's trademark rocket skates are absent.[19]

Guardians of the Galaxy[edit]

Rocket joins the new Guardians of the Galaxy at the behest of his friend Star-Lord.[21] It is he who suggests that the team adopt that moniker after hearing it mentioned by Major Victory.[22] Later on, when the team almost disbands and Peter Quill (Star-Lord) disappears (sent into the Negative Zone by Ronan), Rocket keeps the team alive, and brings in Groot as member, as the two had become firm friends.[23] Rocket takes over as leader until they rescue Peter, and save the Earth from an alien invasion.[24] When the team tries to halt the growing War of Kings, Rocket decides to lead the portion of the team assigned to make contact with the Shi'ar. They are unable to teleport into the Emperor Vulcan's flagship and have to be rescued by the Starjammers and Rocket's old friend Ch'od.[25] They are able to bring back the rightful queen of the Shi'ar, but she is killed after Rocket departs, much to his horror.[26]

After the Guardians disband,[27] Rocket Raccoon takes up a normal job with Timely Inc.[28] He and Groot were reunited and tricked into returning to Halfworld: here, he found out his memories of the place were mostly half-truths and deliberately crafted fake memories. In reality, Jakes and Blackjack O'Hare had worked with Rocket in providing security at Halfworld Asylum for the Criminally Insane; Doctor Dyvyne had been Head of Psychology there; and both the anthropomorphic animals and the automaton clowns were deliberately created to work at the asylum, as their appearance would calm the inmates. The crises that Rocket half-remembered had been caused by the psychic supervillain the Star Thief, who had been admitted as an inmate and used his psychic powers to turn the inhabitants against each other. Rocket had turned the warders into a biological "key" to keep Star-Thief locked up, and deliberately altered his mind and left Halfworld so it could never be opened - but he was tricked into returning by the Thief, whose mind had escaped into the asylum after his host body died.[29]

Rocket is a member of the revamped Guardians of the Galaxy in the first issue of the 2013 series.[30]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Rocket Raccoon possesses the normal attributes of an Earth raccoon, including speed (which has been additionally amplified by his training), an acute sense of smell, sight, hearing and touch. He is an accomplished starship pilot, an expert marksman with the two laser pistols he carries as well as having an affinity for heavy weapons. He is a master military tactician and leader, attributes that help him take charge of the Guardians of the Galaxy when Star-Lord is unavailable.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Rocket Raccoon (along with the other Guardians of the Galaxy) appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Michael Korvac", voiced by Greg Ellis.[31]
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Guardians of the Galaxy",[32] voiced by Billy West.[31] He is shown as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Sam Alexander's trainer. Spider-Man and the Guardians save Earth from Korvac and his Chitauri army. In the episode "The Return of the Guardians of the Galaxy," Rocket Raccoon (now voiced by Trevor Devall) was with the Guardians of the Galaxy when they land on Earth to repair their spaceship at the time when Titus leads the Chitauri into targeting Sam Alexander's Nova helmet.

Film[edit]

Rocket in a character poster for the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the live-action Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy,[35] voiced by Bradley Cooper.[36] In addition to being genetically altered, Rocket is shown to have cybernetic implants within his body. He is only referred to as "Rocket" in the film, even asking "what's a raccoon?" when told of his resemblance to the Earthly animal. He serves as the team's pilot and technical expert, providing the weapon that Peter Quill uses against Ronan the Accuser in the final confrontation and piloting a Ravager ship in the final assault against Ronan's fleet. Rocket also displays a talent for engineering jailbreaks. Having previously escaped from 22 prisons, he devises and executes a scheme to free his eventual teammates from a Nova Corps prison. Screenwriter Nicole Perlman has stated that early drafts of the film did not include the character due to "a little bit of a fear that he would come across as cartoonish because he's a raccoon." Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was persuaded to approve Rocket's inclusion in the film.[37] A live raccoon named "Oreo" was used on set to help animators accurately capture the motion and behaviors of it for their CGI model.[38] Director James Gunn took Oreo to the film's European premiere.[39]

Video games[edit]

Toys[edit]

  • A Rocket Raccoon action figure was available as part of a Guardians of the Galaxy three pack in 2011 as part of the Marvel Universe toyline.
  • A Rocket Raccoon and Groot figure set with a "Dancing Baby Groot" will be released by Hot Toys.[49]

Collected editions[edit]

  • Rocket Raccoon: Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant (hardcover, Aug. 2011, ISBN 978-0-7851-5527-0) collects: The Incredible Hulk #271, Rocket Raccoon #1–4, and the story from Marvel Preview #7 ("The Sword in the Star!: Stave 2: Witchworld!").
  • Rocket Raccoon & Groot: The Complete Collection (softcover, April 2013, ISBN 978-0-7851-6713-6) collects: a story from Tales to Astonish #13, the story from Marvel Preview #7, The Incredible Hulk #271, Rocket Raccoon #1–4, Annihilators #1–4, and Annihilators: Earthfall #1–4.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]