When I ordered all these recent releases, I also bought some back issues, most of which were various Iron Fist mini-series from the '90s or early 2000s. Marvel's releasing a trade of them sometime this summer, but I figured this would be cheaper and involve less waiting. None of them were what I'd call winners, and it seems like all of them were either about someone stealing the Iron Fist from Danny, or him wanting to give up being Iron Fist entirely.
Rocket Raccoon #8 and 9, by Skottie Young (writer), Filipe Andrade (artist, #8), Jake Parker (artist, #9), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (color artist), Jeff Eckleberry (letterer) - Well, Groot may have grown to enormous size and begun destroying the city, but Rocket's got his fists taped up, so I'm going with him. He could have anything hidden under that tape. Brass knuckles, attack bees, anything.
Rocket and Jink are trying to steal the yolk of a Nogu egg, because that will save Groot from the Nogu venom. Along the way, they talk a little, Rocket about how he and Groot met (it involves a prison break), and Jink about why she's helping (her father forbid her from making a similar trip months ago to save her mother). They find the nest, Rocket makes too much noise getting the yolk, and Jink kills the Mama Nogu from the inside. The day is saved, but as they leave the planet, our hero and his tree get a message from a guy who says Rocket should let Groot die. This fellow, Yak, sees possible futures, and in one of them, Groot joins the Avengers. They try to use his regenerative ability to cure diseases, but it somehow makes him grow to gargantuan stature and go berserk, to the point he's going to destroy Earth.
Iron Man tries to convince Rocket to come help talk him down, which doesn't work, then fails miserably at forcing Rocket to come to Earth. Though I guess he succeeds, because Rocket comes there mostly to kick Tony's ass, only to find Groot did it already. Rocket tries transforming his spacecraft into a mecha-Raccoonbot, and still gets destroyed. But this act brings Groot back to himself, and he helps make Earth into a paradise. It turns out what we saw was a simulation Yak had them run as a way to avert the future he saw. Quite why weird alien slug guy gives a crap whether Groot destroys Earth, is not explained, but his plan worked, so hooray?
Rocket didn't exactly live up to the recap page's promise that raccoons are great burglars. Oh right, he's not a raccoon. Well, that explains it. He made too much noise, nearly got eaten, then nearly got eaten again. Everyone has an off day. Very "power of friendship!" couple of issues. Rocket risking his neck for Groot (and his willingness to do so convincing Jink to defy her father and help him). Then Rocket dying (in a simulation of a future that won't happen) to help Groot snap back to his old self.
I'm not sure what to make of issue 9. Groot wants to join the Avengers, be a hero, Rocket didn't want to. So they parted company, and Groot ultimately gives too much, while Rocket grows bitter and alone. So this Rocket needs Groot around to remind him people are worth helping, but Groot needs someone to temper his selfless nature, someone who would have looked out for Groot, since the big fellow won't do it for himself.
I did like that when Stark tries to justify getting Groot to join to Rocket, he uses the same line about running through the door rather than walking he used to justify sending the Hulk off to die against Grootzilla at the start of the issue. Even in simulated alternate futures, Stark's still an ass.
Beaulieu's color work is really impressive on these two issues. I didn't think they were actually done by the same person, because they look so different. In issue 8, it's almost a painted quality to it, it reminds me a little of Dustin Nguyen's work when he paints the colors himself. There are these deep blues, and splashes of red or magenta for blood. It's less orderly, more Expressionistic (or what I see in my head when I think of Expressionism). Big splashes of color at times just hinting or suggesting the shape of clothing, or some huge creature. It's pretty cool, and very different from the next issue, when it's more what you might expect for a Marvel comic. It's mostly bright, sharply defined colors, staying inside Jake Parker's lines. There isn't that bleedover or anything like that.