Little Groot gets in big trouble.
Now that the core Guardians of the Galaxy comic has gone twice-monthly, do we really need separate solo books for both Rocket Raccoon and Groot? The recent Rocket #1 made a strong case for itself, telling a very different sort of cosmic detective noir/heist tale. That series is clearly telling a story that couldn’t be told within All-New Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m not convinced that’s the case with I Am Groot #1.
The one advantage with this latest in Marvel’s long line of Groot-centric comics is that it has a slight urgency to its status quo. As established in Al-New Guardians, Groot is stuck in his baby form for some reason. Beyond the fact that this puts him in immediate physical danger on any new mission, there’s also the ongoing mystery of how and why Groot has become trapped in this infant state. There’s little sense that I Am Groot will specifically be exploring that mystery, but at least Groot’s new, more precarious state gives the series some sense of novelty.
Mostly, though, this is just the same sort of light, breezy Guardians comic we’ve seen a great deal of over the past few years. The focus is more on silly antics and crazy visuals than anything, with Groot getting into mischief, discovering a new world and Rocket fretting over his pint-sized BFF. It’s all entertaining and about as all-ages friendly as this franchise gets, but there’s an annoying sense of familiarity to the whole endeavor. This reads more like a brief detour from the events of All-New Guardians and not the makings of a unique, compelling ongoing series. Given Marvel’s recent publishing habits, it may be that the series isn’t intended to be ongoing in the first place.
In the end, the simple, straightforward story is made palatable by the gorgeous artwork. Flaviano is right at home building on the look and tone established by Aaron Kuder in All-New Guardians. The book is very energetic and stylish. Each team member has their own, distinct personality and body language. Flaviano ensures that the wider Marvel Universe is a strange, eclectic place full of larger-than-life critters and cosmic anomalies. And colorist Marcio Menyz gives everything a bright, cheery sheen. Those who miss Skottie Young’s cartoonish Rocket Raccoon & Groot art will be right at home here.