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Comic Book Questions Answered – When Did Groot and Rocket Raccoon Become Best Friends?

by  in Comic News Comment

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.

Today’s question comes from Chris E. and it is a surprisingly good one (I don’t mean this as a shot at Chris, just that I was surprised by how the answer is really not as simple as I first thought):

I really like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, both the comics and the movie. I was recently reading the trades of the Abnett & Lanning run, and I started wonder:Exactly when did the Rocket & Groot friendship become a big part of their characterization? Now their friendship is a big part of their characterization, everyone associates them with each other, and they even share a series. But in the Abnett & Lanning run, they interact very little. Rocket seems to be closer with Star-Lord than anyone else, really. Is this something that originated with the movie, or are there some issues I’m missing?

Read on for the answer!

If you were to distill it down to its simplest form, the answer BASICALLY originates in the Starlord mini-series that led into Annihilation Conquest. Written by Keith Giffen and drawn by Timothy Green II and Victor Olazaba, the series features Peter Quill being enlisted by the Kree into forming a sort of “Suicide Squad”…


Two of the members are Rocket Raccoon and Groot…




In the second issue, we get basically the answer to Chris’ question – Groot and Rocket Raccoon formed a bond while working together…


Later, Groot is seemingly killed and Rocket is quite upset…


Groot survived in smaller form, so Rocket became HIS ride…


At the end of the series, Groot is back to regular size, and now the team was set to move over to the main Annihilation Conquest (where they and Marvel’s other heroes work together to fight a Phalanx Invasion led by Ultron).


Go to the next page to see Groot and Rocket’s interaction in that series…

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and drawn mostly by Tom Raney and Scott Hanna, Quill’s team decides to enter the fray…


After Quill is captured and tortured, the rest of the team comes to save him. Groot and Mantis come up with a plan in how Groot can help fight the bad guys in a big way…





Groot seemingly dies there, but Rocket has hope. Look how sad Rocket is!!


At the end of the series, Rocket is watering Groot to bring him back…


So, again, there is enough of a connection here that I think this COULD be the answer to Chris’ question. However, it is a bit more complicated than that. Notice that Rocket and Groot never really have any solo adventures. So what about the Guardians of the Galaxy series that sprung out of Annihilation Conquest by Abnett and Lanning and artists Paul Pelletier and Rick Magyar? Go to the next page to see how Rocket and Groot interacted there…

As Chris noted, in Guardians of the Galaxy, it was Rocket and Quill who had the closest relationship…


Groot was just a growing plant for many issues….



In fact, Rocket and Groot didn’t even SPEAK to each other until after the team breaks up in Guardians of the Galaxy #6. At the end of the issue, Groot is left with Rocket when everyone else leaves…


Starting the next issue, Rocket forms his own team, with a now-grown Groot a member of the team…


They remain teammates for the rest of the series, but they really don’t interact much. This bit from Guardians of the Galaxy #9 is a good example…


Groot isn’t even IN The Thanos Imperative, the wrap-up to Abnett and Lanning’s run on the series (which is actually kind of weird).

So where did the friendship really kick in? The answer is in the follow-up to Guardians of the Galaxy, Annihilators, in a back-up series starring the two together, as Rocket tries to catch up with his former teammate…


They reunite in the second issue…


And then go on a series of adventures. In the sequel to Annihilators, Annihilators: Earthfall, there was another series of Rocket Racoon and Groot back-up stories.

So there ya go – that is where the best friends relationship solidified. For fun, here are the other Rocket Raccoon/Groot alternate covers from the Annihilators mini-series…




Thanks for the question, Chris! If anyone has a comic-related question, feel free to drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!