Will Corona Pilgrim and Andrea De Vito’s “Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy’s Most Wanted” #1 feels like a movie-tie-in cash grab of the highest order. It covers nearly the same ground as Skottie Young’s first issue of “Rocket Raccoon,” but with none of the charm, humor or purpose.
Though Groot gets a larger role to play in this book than in the first issue of Young’s series, that’s the biggest plot difference in a story that also centers on Rocket Raccoon being “wanted” and hunted down. Pilgrim’s script is basic and lacking in humor, especially considering the characters involved. It also doesn’t do the best job of articulating the friendship between Rocket and Groot. In fact, a huge plot point turns on Rocket suddenly not understanding what Groot is saying and thus thinking he’s turned against him, something that makes no sense in the larger context of the story or characters. Though a “one joke” story is often the best choice for a done in one issue like this, to be successful, it needs more humor or emotional stakes — something to ground it.
De Vito’s art is serviceable, but uninspired. It takes no risks in storytelling or character design, going for the most rote of portrayals and executions. Groot’s design especially, which just begs for creativity, is extremely reined in. De Vito does cut loose in one panel with Groot to good effect, but there’s much more room for innovation throughout. Rocket is oddly thin and elongated, looking less like a bi-ped raccoon and more like a small child in a raccoon suit. De Vito does his best with the expressions, but it all feels rather lifeless and lacking in imagination on all fronts. The storytelling is clear enough but it’s just adequate to get things done with nearly every choice feels like the safe one.
“Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy’s Most Wanted” #1 does have one thing in its favor in that it includes a reprint of Thor #314 which has a battle between Thor and Drax The Destroyer.