Rocket Raccoon

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Rocket Raccoon
Rocketraccoon.png
Rocket Raccoon on the cover of
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 6 #14.
Art by Brett Booth.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMarvel Preview #7 (Summer 1976)
Created byBill Mantlo
Keith Giffen
In-story information
SpeciesRaccoon Halfworlder
Place of originHalfworld
Team affiliationsGuardians of the Galaxy
Nova Corps
PartnershipsGroot
Notable aliasesRocky Raccoon, Ranger Rocket
Abilities
  • Master tactician and field commander
  • Skilled marksman and hand-to-hand combatant
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Accomplished starship aviator
  • Normal-physical attributes of an Earth raccoon

Rocket Raccoon is a fictional character appearing in American 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, weapon specialist 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 Marvel Cinematic Universe films Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). In these appearances, Rocket Raccoon is voiced by Bradley Cooper, with motion capture provided by Sean Gunn. Rocket will return in Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023).

Publication history[edit]

The character was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen,[1] and 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 (May 2011 – August 2011) and Annihilators: Earthfall #1–4 (November 2011 – February 2012 ).[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 2012 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.[13] Jake Parker replaced Young as the artist beginning with issue #5.[14] The series ended in May 2015 as one of many titles to be cancelled for Marvel's Secret Wars event.[15] A new volume, titled Rocket Raccoon and Groot, began in January 2016 as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch.[16]

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 Rus (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.[17]

At one point, Judson Jakes tried to steal the Halfworld Bible, but was thwarted by Rocket and various animal associates. Later, Lord Dyvyne abducted Rocket's friend Lylla Otter, and Jakes began the Toy War.[18] As the Toy War continued, Blackjack O'Hare teamed up with Rocket, and Rocket was reunited with Lylla.[19] The Rack 'n' Ruin was soon destroyed, as Judson Jakes and Lord Dyvyne teamed up to kill Rocket Raccoon.[20] 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.[21] Some time later, Rocket was revealed to have been a laboratory subject on the Stranger's planet, and escaped his captivity there.[22]

Guardians of the Galaxy[edit]

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.[23] 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.[24] Rocket's trademark rocket skates are absent.[23]

Rocket joins the new Guardians of the Galaxy at the behest of his friend Star-Lord.[25] It is he who suggests that the team adopt that moniker after hearing it mentioned by Major Victory.[26] Later, 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 they had become firm friends.[27] Rocket takes over as leader until they rescue Peter and save the Earth from an alien invasion.[28] When the team tries to halt the growing War of Kings, Rocket leads 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.[29] They are able to bring back the rightful queen of the Shi'ar, but she is killed after Rocket departs, much to his horror.[30]

After the Guardians disband,[31] Rocket Raccoon takes up a normal job with Timely Inc.[32] He and Groot were reunited and tricked into returning to Halfworld: there, he found that 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.[33]

When the Guardians of the Galaxy title was relaunched in 2013, Rocket was again a member of the team.[34]

In the first issue of "Secret Wars", the Guardians of the Galaxy take part in the incursion between Earth-616 and Earth-1610, in which Rocket and Groot are killed by the Children of Tomorrow.[35]

All-New, All-Different Marvel[edit]

As part of Marvel's 2015–2019 "All-New, All-Different Marvel branding", Rocket Raccoon takes leadership of the Guardians of the Galaxy while Star-Lord was busy handling things on Spartax.[36]

During the crisis in Avengers: No Road Home when light itself was nearly destroyed by the ancient Greek goddess of darkness Nyx, Rocket was one of the heroes who were inadvertently assembled to fight her, including Hawkeye, Hercules, Hulk, the Scarlet Witch, Spectrum, the Vision, Voyager, and Conan the Barbarian. Once Nyx was defeated, Rocket mused that this would allow him to cross "being an Avenger" off his bucket list.[37]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Rocket Raccoon possesses the normal attributes of an Earth raccoon, including speed (which has been additionally amplified by his training), and an acute sense of smell, sight, hearing and touch. Sharp claws allow him to scale walls, buildings, and trees with ease. He is an accomplished starship pilot, a brilliant engineer and technician, and 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.[citation needed]

Supporting characters[edit]

  • Blackjack O'Hare - An anthropomorphic rabbit that has clashed with Rocket Raccoon.
  • Lylla - An anthropomorphic otter. Lylla is the C.E.O. of the biggest toy making company in the universe, Mayhem Mekaniks on the planet Halfworld. She is also the friend and lover of Rocket Raccoon. She inherited the company after her parents were murdered by Judson Jakes who wanted control of the company. The only way for Lylla to gain full control was through marriage. Lylla soon came under threat not just through Jakes, but also through Lord Dyvyne as they both wanted to control her toy company.[18] Luckily Rocket Raccoon came to her aid and with the help of their friends, WalRus and Uncle Pyko, defeated both parties.[19] Lylla traveled with Rocket afterwards to start a new life together.[21] These events were later revealed to be false. Lylla, along with the rest of the halfworlders, were actually service animals who cared for mental patients on their planet. She was also apparently married to Blackjack O'Hare.[33] She has not been seen since, and her marriage to Blackjack seemed retconned as he reappeared as a deadly mercenary and enemy to Rocket.[38]
  • Wal Rus - An anthropomorphic walrus. Wal Rus is an engineer who aided Rocket Raccoon in his fight in the Toy Wars of which his niece, Lylla, was the center of conflict. His metallic tusks were interchangeable and he could be used as tools or weapons.[18] His adventures with Rocket were later retconned when Rocket and Groot visited Halfworld and discovered that the halfworlders were actually service animals for mental patients.[33] Wal Rus served as one of the security guards who worked for Rocket and had to once again help his friend when one of the patients mental powers began to manifest after years of waiting.[39] This was retconned, yet again and he was recently seen working for Rocket and Groot in rescuing Princess Lynx and fighting Blackjack O'Hare, his brigade and Lord Dyvyne.[38]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Rocket Raccoon appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series episode "Michael Korvac", voiced by Greg Ellis.[40] This version is a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series,[41][40] voiced by Billy West (in the episode "Guardians of the Galaxy") and later by Trevor Devall (for subsequent episodes). This version is a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and served as one of Sam Alexander's trainers. In the episode "Guardians of the Galaxy", the Guardians join forces with Alexander and Spider-Man to save Earth from Korvac's Chitauri army. In the episode "The Return of the Guardians of the Galaxy", Rocket and the Guardians land on Earth to repair their spaceship amidst Titus's attempts to target Alexander's helmet.
    • A pirate-themed alternate reality version of Rocket appears in the episode "Return to the Spider-Verse" Pt. 2. This version is a member of Web Beard's crew before they start a mutiny against him before hoarding treasure for himself. Following an attack by a Kraken however, and with help from Spider-Man and Kid Arachnid, the mutineers and Web Beard reconcile and join forces to fight off the Kraken.
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the Avengers Assemble animated series,[40][42] voiced initially by Seth Green in "Guardians and Spaceknights" and later by Trevor Devall in "Widow's Run".
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. animated series episode "It's a Wonderful Smash", voiced again by Seth Green.[40][43]
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers anime series episode "Guardians of the Galaxy", voiced by Fumihiro Okabayashi.
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series, voiced again by Trevor Devall.[44][45]
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the animated Christmas TV special Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight!, voiced again by Trevor Devall.[citation needed]
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the Rocket & Groot animated shorts, voiced again by Trevor Devall.[citation needed]
  • Rocket Raccoon appears in the animated special Lego Marvel Super Heroes - Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat, voiced again by Trevor Devall.[46][better source needed]

Film[edit]

Rocket appears in live-action films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portrayed by Sean Gunn via motion capture[47] and voiced by Bradley Cooper.[48] This version's real name is 89P13 and is shown to have cybernetic implants within his body.

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.
  • Rocket Raccoon is a Build-A-Figure in the Marvel Legends toyline released in 2013.[64]
  • A Rocket Raccoon and Groot figure set with a "Dancing Baby Groot" was released by Hot Toys.[65]

Newspaper comic strips[edit]

Rocket Raccoon began appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man newspaper comic strip in December 2016, in a story where Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson discover him in a spaceship that crashed on the Earth.[66]

Theme park attractions[edit]

Rocket appears in the ride Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! at Disney California Adventure, with Bradley Cooper reprising his role from the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.[67][68] He and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy were captured by the Collector to be put on display, but Rocket manages to escape and enters the room the guests are in through a vent and hijacks the video to explain his plan to rescue his friends. The guests will use their access passes to enter the gantry lift while Rocket rides on top to destroy the generator so that the Guardians, as well as the other creatures in the collection, can escape.

Podcast[edit]

Rocket appears in the Marvel's Wastelanders: Old Man Star-Lord podcast, voiced by Chris Elliott.[69]

Reception[edit]

Dominic Lerose of The Daily Cardinal wrote that "audiences love not only for his cuteness and humor, but for his saddened soul and desire to fit into the dramatic universe of Marvel."[70] LeRose cited the "underdog" nature and the "emotional pain" stemming from a "sad backstory [that] makes us as an audience root and care for him."[70] In addition he stated that audiences like his relationship with Groot.[70]

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 Vol. 1 #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 Vol. 1 #1–4, Annihilators #1–4, and Annihilators: Earthfall #1–4.
  • Rocket Raccoon: A Chasing Tail! (hardcover, March 2015, ISBN 978-0785193890) collects: Rocket Raccoon Vol. 2 #1-6.
  • Rocket Raccoon: Storytailor! (hardcover, August 2015, ISBN 978-0785193906) collects: Rocket Raccoon Vol. 2 #7-11.
  • Rocket Raccoon & Groot Vol. 0: Bite and Bark (softcover, October 2016, ISBN 978-1302902186) collects: Rocket Raccoon Vol. 2 #1-11, Groot #1-6, and material from Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers #1.
  • Rocket Raccoon & Groot Vol. 1: Tricks of the Trade (softcover, August 2016, ISBN 978-0785199731) collects: Rocket Raccoon & Groot #1-6.
  • Rocket Raccoon & Groot Vol. 2: Civil War II (softcover, November 2016, ISBN 978-0785199748) collects: Rocket Raccoon & Groot #7-10.
  • Rocket Raccoon: Grounded (softcover, August 2017, ISBN 978-1302906795) collects: Rocket Raccoon Vol. 3 #1-5.
  • Rocket: The Blue River Score (softcover, December 2017, ISBN 978-1302905507) collects: Rocket #1-6.
  • Rocket Raccoon and Groot: Tall Tails (softcover, March 2020, ISBN 978-1302921156) collects: Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1-10.

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