Writers Andy Lanning and Andy Schmidt team up with artist Gustavo Duarte, colorist Marcelo Maiolo and letterer Cory Petit to tell the tale of a bunch of tails in “Guardians Team-Up” #5, which features Rocket Raccoon teaming up with the Pet Avengers. Cosmo, the telepathic Cosmonaut dog from Knowhere, also makes an appearance and truly serves as the co-star of this issue, while the Pet Avengers add depth and delight.
Conceptually descendant from the tales of Rocket Raccoon and his adventures on Half-World, “Guardians Team-Up” #5 is filled with plenty of guns and goofiness, including a gathering of evil anthropomorphic oddities that count Mikhol (the Red Ghost’s gorilla), Cuddles (Princess Python’s snake) and Vulture Von Doom among their number. The Andys Lanning and Schmidt realize this is absurd and fun and take it to the over-the-top extreme, which makes it absurdly fun. Rocket and Cosmo bicker throughout the issue, as they did when Lanning co-wrote “Guardians of the Galaxy” with Dan Abnett, adding personality to the critters as they seek to right wrongs and, in Rocket’s case, reclaim his beer.
Gustavo Duarte’s artwork is on par with Jake Parker’s drawings for the Skottie Young-penned “Rocket Raccoon” series, making this issue a fair overlap for readers. Duarte’s characters are animated and packed with emotions, which gives “Guardians Team-Up” #5 a very cartoonish appearance; for the characters and the circumstances, cartoon artwork is the best choice. Frequently, the characters have almost Muppet-like gesticulations, and Vulture Von Doom bears more than a passing resemblance to Beaky the Buzzard from the “Bugs Bunny” cartoons of yesteryear. Duarte packs so much fun into every drawing that readers of all ages would be content simply staring at each and every panel for hours.
Maiolo keeps the colors bright and strong throughout the issue, underscoring the cartoonish nature of the adventure while appealing to the over-the-top goofiness inherent in a story that features a team of animal sidekicks. Petit joins in the fun, from Rocket’s scratchy word balloons and Cosmo’s use of telepathy to Vulture Von Doom’s initial exclamation, which is underscored by the humor of having to repeat himself. Prescribed sound effects round out the appearance of the issue, as Petit makes sure all of the text finds the most opportune anchors in this issue.
Readers of the Skottie Young “Rocket Raccoon” series will like what they find here, as will readers of the original series and the “Pet Avengers” adventures from Chris Eliopoulos and company. This is one of the most complete, fun-filled, off-the-wall goofy adventures I’ve read this year. This is the type of fun thing comics can do and should do more often: all-ages worthy reads that simply celebrate comic books as comic books, filled with exciting ideas and enjoyable characters.