Thursday, December 31, 2020

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon & Groot Steal the Galaxy! (book) by Dan Abnett

Rocket Raccoon & Groot Steal the Galaxy is an original Guardians of the Galaxy novel set in the Marvel Universe. I bought my copy brand new.

This review contains things that might be considered slight spoilers.


This is narrated in the present tense by Recorder 127 of the Rigellian Intergalactic Survey. For some reason, 127 has odd blanks in his memory. He knows lots of things and can apply that knowledge in useful ways, but he has no idea why Roamer, a Spaceknight mercenary, keeps showing up and trying to capture him.

Rocket Raccoon sees potential profit in Recorder 127, so he and Groot do their best to stay by his side and keep the Spaceknight from taking him. Plus, Rocket's happy to have an excuse to shoot at all the trouble that keeps following both him and 127 around.

Meanwhile, Timely Inc. is the most powerful corporation in the galaxy, and they have plans to become even more powerful still. They just need to get their hands on Recorder 127 first.

My knowledge of Guardians of the Galaxy is limited to the two movies and one Rocket Raccoon graphic novel volume. As far as I could tell, this worked well as a standalone, although I did have some issues picturing just about everybody in the cast except Rocket, Groot, and Gamora. The book wasn't completely without descriptions, but it definitely assumed more knowledge of what the various alien species looked like than I possessed.

The narrator's voice is not going to appeal to everyone - I think the narrator is part of the reason why I quit reading this the first time I tried it a few years ago. Recorder 127 comments on his own storytelling abilities a lot and makes lots of jokes and asides that the author probably thought were fun and clever. Unfortunately, they didn't really work for me, and sometimes I just wanted Recorder 127 to shut and up tell the story without embellishments. Also, there is only so often readers need to be told about Rocket's "disconcertingly human-like hands" and "unfeasibly large guns" - the author had everyone commenting on them, not just Recorder 127.

A note on Recorder 127 and Gamora: his lusting over her made zero sense to me. It never really went further than "hopeful puppy dog eyes," but since the text made it clear that he wasn't a biological entity, his seemingly biological pants feelings were bizarre. Yes, I understand that Gamora was supposed to be hot, but noting her physical attractiveness to others should have been enough to emphasize that.

The story was almost nonstop action, Rocket, Groot, 127, and (later) Gamora going from one place to another, first in an attempt to escape people trying to capture 127 or kill Rocket and Groot, and then in an effort to finally get to the bottom of whatever Timely Inc.'s plans were. It was confusing but, I think, meant to be that way - the final showdown gathered just about everyone up into one big messy battle. There were individual moments I enjoyed, even though following along with the whole thing was sometimes difficult. My favorite parts generally involved the Centurion characters, particularly the sentient ship that Rocket managed to talk into helping him.

The plot's reliance on two (yes, more than one) devices with the power to conveniently alter the universe and characters' places in it was another one of those things that I suspect was supposed to be seen as clever and fun and instead just felt lazy.

Overall, this was okay, but not the best Rocket and Groot experience I've had, and it didn't leave me wanting to read more of Abnett's fiction.


The book ends with a short excerpt from Neil Kleid's Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt, adapted from the graphic novel by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeek.

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