WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy #8 by Donny Cates, Cory Smith, David Curiel and Cory Petit, in stores now.
Ever since the start of the new Guardians of the Galaxy series, Rocket Raccoon was missing from the team's roster. Peter Quill and Groot were left alone, and they found new allies along the way in Beta Ray Bill, Phyla-Vell, Moondragon and Lockjaw before Gamora eventually returned. Still, the mystery of Rocket's departure only grew with time. The Guardians were angry with the little rodent, to the point that they barely dared talk about him. Later, we caught a glimpse of him on his home planet Halfworld, but he didn't come out of his shelter.
Then, in Guardians of the Galaxy #7, Phyla-Vell and Groot returned to Halfworld to convince Rocket to join in their fight. There, we learned that the talking raccoon was now sick, and possibly dying. But that won't stop him from lending a hand in the battle against the Universal Church of Truth. In Guardians of the Galaxy #8, Rocket agrees to join the fight -- and he will do so armed with the biggest gun he's ever wielded.
Rocket Raccoon loves his artillery. The character is always portrayed carrying guns that vary in size, from the handheld to the incredibly -- perhaps even comically -- large. In fact, it's come to the point that, like the X-Men's Cable, Rocket is most recognized wielding giant weaponry that no normal raccoon would ever be able to hold, let alone fire. But nothing compares to what we see in Guardians of the Galaxy #8.
In the issue, Rocket finally explains to Groot and Phyla-Vell why he left his team. He explains that the modifications and experiments that made him the walking, talking animal that he is are slowly coming undone. Rocket is growing weaker by the day, which means that he is effectively dying. Since he didn't want his friends -- his family -- to see him deteriorate, he left without saying anything. But now, it turns out that he's their only hope.
The Universal Church of Truth has come from the future, and they are more powerful than ever before. They wiped out nearly all of the Nova Corps and have taken the rest of the Guardians, as well as countless others, prisoner. Now, it's up to the three of them to do something. Despite his running away, Rocket doesn't hesitate to get back in the game to help his family. The only problem is that he's in no fighting shape.
Thankfully, ever the resourceful type, Rocket has something for the occasion: a giant mech suit.
This robotic suit is huge, heavily armored and appears to pack quite a punch. Given the design and the colors involved, it looks like a cross between Evangelion and Optimus Prime. The best part: Rocket Raccoon is the one piloting it. We don't yet know all of this massive suit's abilities, but it looks like it might offer a few surprises when it finally flies into action.
The last remaining Guardians are heading into battle with the Universal Church of Truth. They might be outnumbered, but now that they have Rocket Raccoon and his mech suit on their side, one thing's clear: They are certainly not outgunned.