Monday, August 4, 2014

Between Books - Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon & Groot Steal the Galaxy

My Welcome to Level Seven co-host picked up Marvel's first original prose novel and immediately devoured it.  As much as I like to give him a hard time, he does have pretty good taste and if he likes something I probably will like it too.  So I immediately began to seek this out since there was a strong chance that I would like it and the fact that it was a first offering from one of Disney's main lines.  And I was really excited about Guardians of the Galaxy too!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon and Groot Steal the Galaxy by Dan Abett follows Rocket and Groot during a Guardians' hiatus.  Left on their own, the two adventuring heroes get mixed up in galactic intrigue when they provide protection to Recorder 127 of the Rigellian Intergalactic Survey, an android which is also the ultimate recording device.  Recorder 127 has seen something, something shockingly enough that he actually does not remember.  And every major galactic empire is trying to capture him and either use him for their own purposes or keep others from acquiring him.  Those they must run from include the Kree and the Nova Corps.  And one of those hunting their new companion is their fellow Guardian Gamora.  The secret of what Recorder 127 knows and cannot remember brings them to the offices of Timely Inc., a corporation with far reaching economic power in the galaxy. 

One of the things my distinguished co-host said was, "If you liked The Hitcherhiker's Guide to the Galaxy you will enjoy this book."  And he sent me updates as he read the book letting me know how much fun he was having.  And there were characters I know and like, personally I was a Rocket man.  But I really failed to find myself getting into the text.  This did really frustrate me.  I want to love this book.  I want prose novels to become a success for Marvel.  I could see how Abnett was wanting us to have fun with him.  But the detailed discussion of cups and the state of hot drinks never really worked for me and failed to provide me the expected payoff.  And Rocket repeats the meaning of nearly every Groot speaking moment, when I wish we as readers would have been asked to figure it out ourselves more often.  So while I wanted to be in the moment, I completely failed to be.  It was like some bit of mind was blocking my enjoyment.  Maybe this is how the Between Wife felt when she expressed doubt about seeing a movie with a gun totting vermin.  Maybe I could not make it real for me without the images of a comic.  And I found this really disappointing since I loved Dan Abnett's run on Guardians of the Galaxy.

For Marvel fans this is an universe you are familiar with.  There are discussions of Kree-Skrull roles, Adam Warlock's former companion Pip makes an appearance and we even go to the Negative Zone.   But Star-Lord and Drax are absent, so is Cosmo but I may be the only one who cares.  

We get to see and read about these through the eyes of Recorder 127, who despite being artificial is a really liable character who cares for his companions.   And he attempts to provide context to you the Earthbound reader with numerous pop-culture references.  So as a reader I did really want him to find his freedom and I think you will too. 

In the end the book was fun, but it is something I would not recommend buying at full price if asked.  I borrowed a copy and I am quite satisfied.  If anything I would criticize Marvel for not realizing a discounted electronic version in a timely manner.  It is a fun summer read.  And it is full of adventure, Rocket and Groot interactions.  If you liked the movie, there is a good shot you will enjoy this.  And really I did liked Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon and Groot Steal the Galaxy but I wanted to love it.  And while I do believe Rocket and Groot are a good pair to offer up in the first novel, I really wanted this to be a home run book.  Perhaps my expectations were just too high, this happens to me a lot!  And I hope my expectations still run high the next time Marvel releases a prose novel. 

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