Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1 shipped last week, but Diamond asked stores not to put in on the shelves until this week. Why they didn't just wait another week to ship them, I don't know. But either way, I found a shop that didn't wait, so screw it, I'll buy it now.
Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #1, by Kate Leth (writer), Brittney L. Williams (artist), Megan Wilson (color artist), Joe Sabino and Clayton Cowles (letterer) - I'm disappointed none of Patsy's fans are representing the costume she briefly had in that Engelhart/Breyfogle mini-series. With the blue and yellow reversed? Surely there is someone out there who defends it as the superior costume choice. Or is that up to me, because I'm not the best person to rely on as an advocate.
Patsy loses her job working for She-Hulk, but makes a friend in a young Terrigen-activated guy named Ian. And it's through Ian she realizes there are plenty of people out there with powers with no interest in fighting crime, or who just need work, and resolves to start her own temp agency to help those people out. Though this will require her to start working in retail to raise the funds. Except she also ran into her old friend Tom, who told her Hedy had signed some deal to re-release all of the old Patsy Walker comics, which netted him a handsome payout. Shouldn't Patsy be seeing some of that cash? Even if she's pissed at Hedy for doing it, she should still get some of the money, right?
There's this conversation with Ian in his apartment - although most of the book is an extended conversation with Ian, it just sometimes involves other people, not meant as a criticism, just an observation - where Patsy alludes to her difficult past relationships, and says she's trying to move on. And I guess I had taken it that she already had. They brought her back back from the dead in 2000. Even with Marvel's slow progress of time, that should have been a few years ago. And I guess I'd figured she'd mostly made her peace with that and moved forward. It isn't a big deal at the moment. I liked the book, the humor of it, and I thought Leth had a pretty good grasp on Patsy's character, that she enjoys getting to fight evil and uses it as a way to escape her other problems, but she means well and makes friends easily.
The combo of Williams and Wilson on art helps things out. Williams does this thing a few times where she simplifies Patsy's face - mostly removing her nose, enlarging the eyes, and giving her a sort of cat mouth - that I like. Tends to represent her mischievous side. The "angry She-Hulk" gag, where even the force of slamming the door is gamma-irradiated (and thus colored green). Though I think my favorite panel is that one of Patsy reacting to Tom telling her Hedy claimed to have Patsy's blessing. The gritted teeth, the way her shoulders are higher than normal (like she's arching her back, like a cat?), the narrowed eyes. It's a really good example of barely controlled anger. Wish they'd used the icicle effect on the speech balloon.
Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1, by Skottie Young (writer), Filipe Andrade (artist), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (color artist), Jeff Eckleberry (letterer) - I'm curious why Marvel gave each character their own solo book first, then went with the team-up title (although Groot was in Rocket's book constantly).
The rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy presume our title characters are dead, for some reason. But a familiar looking cloaked figure hires two mercenaries, Pockets and Shrub, to deliver something to evil Lord Rakzoon, who promptly orders them tortured, then executed until he learns they brought him a gift. Then he just orders them tortured. Then he inspects the package, which turns out to be Groot, with a bunch of stuff carved into him. Oh, and Rakzoon is Rocket.
Not the most gripping first issue. Didn't feel as though much happened. I know there's a mystery to be revealed as to why Rocket's acting like this, and what happened to Groot, but I don't find myself caring. Will Pockets and Shrub become recurring characters, or was that an one-off joke? Depending on how this "evil Rocket" plot plays out, they could have a serious grudge against him.
Andrade's art remains a mixed bag. I don't really enjoy the figurework - although the fact most of the characters are aliens, and most of them are cloaked in robes and masks obscures some of Andrade's issues with anatomy - but some of the layouts are well done. On one page, Pockets and Shrub are being pursued through space and towards the right side of the page. Pockets "gets his swerve on" and the steering wheel's position leads the eye to the panel of them basically pulling a hard turn to get behind their pursuer. That panel's basically in the middle of the page, and the movement of their ship is aimed for the lower left corner, which is where they are in the final panel, and now the pursuing ship is on the right side of the page, because it's continued on in the same direction. I feel maybe the actual swerve could have been depicted a little better, but the overall concept was sound. So pretty much the same reaction I had to Andrade's art when I first encountered it on DeConnick's Captain Marvel.
This was kind of a letdown, especially compared to Hellcat, so I don't know if I'll be back for issue 2.