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Rocket Raccoon

Guardians of the Galaxy
by yo go re

Despite it being a property that no one is familiar with, Marvel and Disney are banking heavily on Guardians of the Galaxy. So far it seems they have chosen wisely. There was a preview screening earlier this week that met with rave reviews, and the toys are selling fast. Amazon put the Marvel Legends up for preorder in April, and they sold out in three days - the best toy preorder Amazon's ever had. Either everybody wants them or everybody underordered them, but either way, they're fricking hard to get ahold of.

Intergalactic bounty hunter Rocket Raccoon and his partner Groot are hot on the trail of their next big payday: the human known as Star-Lord!

Not to be all hipster douchebraggy, but I was totally aware of Rocket Raccoon before he joined the Guardians of the Galaxy. He showed up in a couple issues of Sensational She-Hulk in the early '90s, so I learned about him way back then. Not that there's any shame in being unaware of the character: if there's one thing Marvel is good at, it's introducing new audiences to its characters. They're almost as good at that as DC is at rebooting Batman!

When we got a Rocket Raccoon Build-A-Figure in Marvel Legends Series 5, it was a very stylized, comicbooky design. But the movie is making Rocket look more like a real raccoon (even going so far as to base his design on a real raccoon named Oreo), and the toy follows suit. If this head were on a quadrupedal body, it would look like a real animal.

But it's not on a quadrupedal body, it's bipedal. And instead of wearing a little military uniform, he's wearing an orange jumpsuit with dark kneepads, dark stripes up the sides, and metal pads over the shoulders. Funnily enough, that also describes the new costume that debuted in Rocket Raccoon #1 (released earlier this month, and also sent out to 100,000+ Loot Crate subscribers), which means that, just like Star-Lord, this toy could be a stand-in for the comic version if you so choose. Again, bringing the books in line with the movies will ease the transition for anyone who tries to make the jump.

The details are more complex in the movie than in the comic, obviously. There are straps running around the ribs, and a tiny little valve on the chest (with tubes extending from it that are then sculpted to look like they're disappearing beneath the panels of his suit) that is reminiscent of an airline life vest; can Rocket's little suit inflate with him inside it? That's so cute! His shoulder pads connect to a fancy little backpack (jetpack?) that reaches all the way down to his waist. His arms, lower legs, and tail are all exposed, and the fur detailing is done nicely. He does seem to be missing a flap over his tail, but no big loss.

This toy is larger than the BAF - about 3¼" tall - but because his posture is more upright, he looks smaller. He has a balljointed head and waist, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, and swivel wrists and tail. He's armed with a big beige gun taken straight from the movie, and is articulated enough to hold it properly.

Since Rocket is so small, he comes with the biggest piece of the series' Groot Build-A-Figure: the torso and head. Together, they're nearly as tall as Rocket himself, which says a lot about how small that figure is, and how big the BAF is going to be.

When these figures were first revealed at Toy Fair this year, we asked Hasbro whether the package would just include Rocket and the BAF chest, because that seemed way too small to make it worth the price. At the time they said no, there wouldn't be anything else, but either they misunderstood our question or the plans changed, because he now includes an accessory for someone else. It's a big cannon type thing that, as seen in the most recent trailers, is fired by Star-Lord. It braces against his chest, and features two handgrips. You'll just need to lean him back slightly so he doesn't fall over.

Rocket Raccoon is getting a big push from Marvel and Disney, both assuming that he'll be the breakout star of Guardians of the Galaxy - but remember, at one point, somebody thought Jar-Jar Binks was going to be popular, too. Who knows, in a few months maybe we'll all be trying to pretend we were never onboard the Rocket Raccoon bandwagon. But for now, he's a fun character, and this is a great toy of him.

-- 07/14/14

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