Since it’s launch, Skottie Young’s Rocket Raccoon has found success in fully embracing the obscure and outlandish elements of Marvel’s cosmic universe. Rocket may have been this summer’s breakout star in greater pop culture consciousness, but Young’s persistent experimentation with traditional comic book elements that has been a major selling point for this ongoing series. Just as the inventive lettering and sound effects of Rocket Raccoon #4 made that issue shine, Rocket Raccoon #5’s twist on a classic storytelling gimmick brings with it nothing but smiles.
A famous adage declares, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Most internet forums can support that with the unbridled cynicism and hatred posted by users. Due these facts, Skottie Young’s comedic talent is instantly validated from the issue’s opening page. The sight of Rocket and Groot leading a troop of intergalactic boy scouts is fantastic, highlighted by the deadpan conclusion to Rocket’s ghost story. After four issues of chasing down imposter raccoons and outrunning violent ex-girlfriends, this charming beginning is a nice change of pace that can draw in both recurring and lapsed readers.
After the first few pages, the remainder of the issue is a creative twist on the “silent issue” gimmick, which has been used to varying degrees of success over the years. Thankfully, Rocket Raccoon #5 joins the ranks of titles such as Batman & Robin #18 (the “Requiem” issue following the death of Damian Wayne) in delivering a strong emotional punch through the artwork alone. The use of “silence” allows Skottie Young’s artwork to tall without the series’ (admittedly entertaining) dialogue prop it up. Because of this, Young’s talent as a storyteller through sequential art alone is on full display. There are moments where transitions between sequences lack an expected level of smoothness, but overall it does not detract from the issue’s enjoyment.
As mentioned above, the issue concludes on a strong emotional note similar to the silent issue of Batman & Robin, but it should be clarified that the emotion conjured up from Rocket Raccoon the polar opposite of that title coming from Marvel’s Distinguished Competition. Whereas that issue was a somber affair in the wake of a character’s death, Rocket Raccoon builds off a fun, adventurous foundation to reach it’s jovial climax. The reader’s smile will continue on through the issue’s wrap-up pages, with an all-too-cute character providing one final chuckle.
Rocket Raccoon #5 is escapist, comic book fun distilled into it’s purest form. As one of the more entertaining releases this week, and being a done-in-one issue, readers should grab this along with their weekly pulls. Those that are a fan of fun won’t be disappointed.
Note: This review was originally published at InfiniteComix.com