I finally saw The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension last week. Well, I saw part of it. I was flipping back and forth between it and Alien, which is why this is just a intro paragraph and not a review. But everybody in the corners of the Internet I travel talks about it, so it was nice to at least sort of understand what they're going on about. Very strange film, feels almost like something I would right in terms of throwing weird crap in there, only more so.
Rocket Raccoon #4, by Skottie Young (words and art), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (color art), Jeff Eckleberry (lettering) - Rocket, you're going to get in trouble with Rachet and Clank if you keep swinging that oversized wrench around.
The evil raccoon buys off all those crooks, then blows up Groot, removing all of Rocket's backup. It turns out to actually be Blackjack O'Hare, out for revenge. Blackjack was supposed to kill that princess Rocket rescued (Amalya, who is leading the Legion of Angry Exes) in the first issue, and his single failure ruined his entire reputation as a mercenary. So he's framed Rocket for murder (except Rocket kills people all the time), and done all this just to mess with him. And now he's going to kill him. Except the Exes show up, and Blackjack gets shot by Amalya for failure to monologue to himself. Then Rocket has to defend himself against the horde of exes, which he does just before Star-Lord and the Guardians show up. On the ship, Rocket declares that this team is his family, but breaks down once he's by himself. Except there is another raccoon out there, an one-eyed lady one, who is after that book they mentioned last issue.
On my first read, I really enjoyed this. There's plenty of action, Rocket's still a smart-mouth, Young draws very well, the sound effects are funny ("Gut", for a kick in the stomach, "jack" for a punch in the jaw, "Nope" when Rocket catches a fist). I don't know if that's Young or Eckleberry, but either way, it's quality work. Rocket actually seems to avoid killing anyone, and he admits he treated all these ladies badly, and really doesn't want to hurt them. This struck me as being very good.
The more I think on it, the less sure I am of that. It would be one thing if Rocket were just a cad, a love 'em and leave 'em guy who can not or will not reciprocate the intense feelings he apparently sparks in these ladies. I wouldn't necessarily love Rocket as a philandering, Gambit style playboy, but I would generally agree he shouldn't be killed for it. Amalya and the others have the right to be hurt and angry, but killing him is a step too far.
Except that isn't all Rocket did. He convinced Amalya, for example, to let him borrow 2 million giffs, and then ran off. Which got her disowned by her family for shaming them. Rocket is a scam artist, one of those dudes who meets ladies so he can get their bank account numbers and steal all their savings. Which is not just shitty behavior, but actually criminal, so maybe I should be rooting for them to kill Rocket. I mean, he's fighting against overwhelming odds, and I'm sitting there thinking, "Maybe it would be better if he got torn to pieces." This is not really the reaction I want to be having to a Rocket Raccoon story, you know?
And I'm not sure why Young is playing games with Rocket's origin. What was wrong with his being the hero of Halfworld, who left to help keep Star-Thief locked up (or because the world was safe and he wanted to find further adventures?) Why all this muddle about, "maybe you're a robot, or a lab experiment"? Why do he and Blackjack know each other, if the Halfworld thing is possibly up in the air, but hate each other, when the last time I saw them, they were sort of pals? I don't know if this is playing off the movie version or the Bendis version, or just something Young came up with on his own, but it's really discordant with all the stuff I'm familiar with about the character, which is kind of distracting.
I feel like I'm back where I started with this comic: it's a good comic, but not a good Rocket Raccoon comic, but the potential is there.