1985 · The 80s

February 1985: Rocket Raccoon 1 – Or, kinda like game of thrones, but with animals instead of boobies

Synopsis: Rocket Raccoon 1 was written by Bill Mantlo, with art by Mike Mignola and Al Gordon and opens with the assassination of the Chief Toysmith of the Spacewheel. The assassin gets past the sentries and past the mercenaries sent after him by the head of the Spacewheel. The only thing is the toysmith is an iguana, the sentries are gorillas, the boss is a snake, the mercs are rabbits and the assassin is a clown. Welcome to Halfworld.

 

The head of Spacewheel, a creature called Lord Dyvynne, believes the attack comes from Judson Jakes, a business rival and to avoid a trade war with him, Dyvynne calls on the law, in this case the ranger known as Rocket Raccoon.  Rocket himself is chilling out with his partner Wal-Rus (a walrus as you can imagine) and his beloved otter Llyla. Rocket is reading the Halfworld bible, but is soon pulled into fun and frolics by Llyla. Their revelry is interrupted by the ranger deputies, the Keystone Kops. They tell Rocket about what has happened on Spacewheel and Rocket heads out to put the bible back. He speaks with one of the ‘loonies’ the inhabitants of Halfworld, who Rocket and the rest of the animals see to the safety and entertainment of. He speaks to Lord Dyvynne and then goes after Judson Jakes, who is legal guardian of Llyla and through her controls Mayhem Mekaniks, who along with Spacewheel produce all the toys for the loonies for their entertainment. They both want the hand of Llyla to consolidate their power and to eradicate the other.

 

 

Rocket and Wal-Rus fly off in the Rakk’n’Ruin and fly towards Jake’s company and we see more of Halfworld and learn that under it are robots who build all the parts for the prosthetics used by the animals and spare parts for the toys. They are also building a giant humanoid star-ship, but no one knows why. Back at Cuckoo’s nest, a tortoise called Uncle Pyko steals the Halfworld bible and causes upset amongst the loonies. Llyla chases after him, but is caught by Blackjack O’Hare and is sent to Lord Dyvynne, whilst Rocket battles his way to Jakes, past his mechanical army known as the Psycho Circus. As Rocket reaches Jakes, Uncle Pyko brings the plot up to date with some timely exposition, whilst Dyvynne comes on screen to gloat about his having Llyla. There’s war, danger on both sides and a decisive Rocket gets angry.

Notes: Cute animals, social commentary and action to the level of ridiculous, of course I loved this comic. The whole bonkers concept of a planet sized insane asylum, where the inmates are left in the care of sentient animals and the treatments are treated like religious rituals. There’s so much to love. It’s narrative is very sword and sorcery with sci fi elements in it, with all the characters taking the whole thing so very seriously as the plot involving two companies at war can do. There’s silliness aplenty and there’s a charm to the whole thing. Mantlo’s scripting matches perfectly and the less stylised pencils of Mignola are crisp and exciting.

This is not recognisable as the Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy, but this series is a lot of fun.

Next Time: Myth, madness and muscles as Hercules takes over Thor

 

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