How's everybody's week going? Well, I hope.
Rocket Raccoon #5-7, by Skottie Young (writer, artist #5), Jake Parker (artist #5 & 6), Filipe Andrade (artist, #7), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (color artist), Jeff Eckleberry (lettering) - That's a really effective use of negative space there. And Young even drew Rocket's eyes as slits, to make him look like he's squinting against the wind in his face.
Each issue is a separate story, though issue 7 is the part of at least a two-issue arc. 5 is Rocket and Groot out camping with some alien kids, and Groot tells a story about the two of them finding a treasure map, which leads them on a quest involving a poker game (where Deadpool is involved, oddly), killing a cyclops (but not Cyclops, sadly) with a big sword, and finally, selecting the right treasure chest from three belonging to an alien pirate ghost. Except it was all just a birthday gift from the Guardians to Rocket, which just annoys our hero since it means no pile of loot. Just friendship, and cake. The joke is that since Groot tells the story, all the dialogue is variations on 'I am Groot'. But Young and Parker tell it easily enough with the art, so it's fine (although the "I am Groot" thing is starting to get old. But I recall that when Giffen first brought him back in Conquest, he knew more than three words, and used them frequently).
In issue 6, Cosmo calls in a favor Rocket owes him (for something that happened in the current Nova series), which involves helping Brute. Brute was a war mech that was discarded on an abandoned world with other obsolete mechs. But they possess intelligence, and built a peaceful civilization. Except some interested parties found it and stole 4 of the mechs, to turn them back into war machines and sell them. Cosmo's a law dog, so he can't get officially involved, but Rocket is a wild card with a questionable rep, so he's perfect. He and the robot (which speaks in binary, so no more intelligible than Groot) find where the mechs are being sold, rescue them, beat hell out of everyone, and the mechs go home, where they make baked goods. Including dog biscuit topped cupcakes for a certain head of security at Knowhere. Parker handles art chores solo on this issue, and his style is a bit more simplified than Young's. Rocket looks a bit more cutesy than Young's stringy, slightly feral version, but that works. This Rocket is actively trying to reform a bit, do good deeds for money (since he had to repay those princesses for all the cash he bilked them out of). He still complains a lot, and he's still violent, but he's at least showing greater selectivity in who he's being violent towards, and more critically, why.
Issue 7, Groot and Rocket are stranded on an ice planet, because Rocket didn't check the fuel gauge before they left home. They get attacked by things that vaguely look like enormous jackalopes, and saved by the princess of the locals, but not before Groot is bitten. And the creature's venom blocks his regenerative ability, so he's really going to die this time, unless they can get an egg from the mama of the Nogu. But the princess' father nixes that idea, meaning Rocket will naturally go by himself. Except Jink didn't appreciate being called a Daddy's girl, so he's got her on his side. But the Mother Nogu is large. Like Fin Fang Foom large, so good luck gettin' that egg.
I haven't seen Andrade's art since the end of the previous Captain Marvel series. This involves fewer human beings, which works to his advantage. If I think Jink's eyes seem oddly small and widely spaced, well, she's an alien. I can't see that being an evolutionary advantage, but maybe it is. His Rocket looks a bit nastier than Parker's or even Young's. More snarling, less smirking. The dark color Beaulieu's using around the gums really highlights the small, sharp white teeth Andrade gives him. When Jink's dad grabs him by his jacket and hauls him up, Andrade gives Rocket a posture that suggests a small creature being threatened. His teeth are bared, his nose is kind of wrinkled, even his hands and arms are held in a manner that almost suggests trying to flash his claws at the threat. It's a style that emphasizes the animal Rocket was created from, moreso than usual.
Beaulieu's color work, like on Avengers Arena and Undercover, is superb. Andrade uses heavier blacks in his work, but it plays well against an ice planet, which is a lot of white and various shades of blue. The colors tend to be brighter in the earlier two issues, but so is the tone of the stories. A lot more warm oranges, and vibrant reds. It suits tales that are emphasizing the size and strangeness of the universe, but in a sillier way. Contrasted with issue 7, where the strangeness is hostile and dangerous, where even the traits you think will keep you safe can be circumvented and rendered useless.