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Guardians of the Galaxy
by yo go re

Looks like the Ents are going to war again!

I am Groot. I-- am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot: I am Groot; I am Groot; I am Groot! I am Groot? I am Groot! I am "Groot." I am Groot - I am Groot. I am Groot. I AM GROOT! I am Groot (I am Groot). I. Am. Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot, I am Groot... I am Groot!

As you know, before jumping into the superhero pool with both feet, the nascent Marvel Comics was the place where monsters dwell. Dwelled. Dwelt? They were publishing seven titles - Amazing Adventures, Journey into Mystery, Strange Tales, Strange Worlds, Tales of Suspense, Tales to Astonish, and World of Fantasy - and they were all filled with giant monsters. A few of those monsters are still kicking around, like Xemnu the Titan, Fin Fang Foom and, of course, Groot, "the monarch of Planet X!" He came to Earth to steal a village and return it to his home planet for his scientists to study and experiment on the inhabitants, and was eventually defeated by termites.

Groot comes in seven pieces, which together look like nothing so much as a pile of kindling: arms, legs, head, chest and hips/torso. They go together without much trouble, but I wouldn't want to try prying them back apart again; Groot may be able to regenerate from just a small splinter in the comicbooks, but if you break the toy, that's likely the end of him. Besides, why would you want to separate him?

The first promotional artwork for the Guardians of the Galaxy film showed Groot with a rather severe, skeletal face - sunken cheeks, a hollow nose, etc. - but the final product is softer. Almost "cute." He has no nose, just a smooth curve between his eyes and mouth, and rather than tall, jagged branches, the top of his head looks like gently broken bark. This is a kinder, gentler, murderous tree-man.

Groot does not just look like a tree that happened to grow in the shape of a man. His feet may resemble roots, but the legs are more like bundles of thick vines than the trunks of trees (and the same goes for his arms). His torso looks particularly anatomical, with large, flat patches of wood where a human would have muscles. It's particularly noticeable on what would be pectorals, but you can also pick it out on the abdomen, shoulder blades, and his big flat buttocks. Nice work, Dan Mitchell! He definitely looks like a humanoid tree, there's just a bit more emphasis on the "humanoid" than the "tree." His right fingers hang loosely, while his left hand looks ready to grab something (not that he has or needs any accessories).

The articulation is good. Groot has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a swivel/hinge chest (which we can say for certain, since it had to be assembled), swivel/hinge hips (the kind that go into the body at a 45° angle - we know some of you hate that for whatever reason), swivel/hinge knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The knees are particularly nice, since instead of a plain line cut straight through the figure, the edge of the joint is ragged, and it almost looks seamless until you bend the leg and the joint becomes apparent.

Groot stands 9" tall, which isn't the largest the character has ever been, but neither is it the smallest - basically, it's right within his natural range, and it's tall enough to have him looking down at pretty much anybody you stand him next to. And of course, since this is functionally identical to his comicbook incarnation, that means I can finally stop using Treebeard in the background every time I want to illustrate the Guardians! Sure, you had to buy a crummy Iron Man to build this figure, and the distribution was pretty bad at the beginning, but Groot is good.

Star-Lord | Gamora | Rocket Raccoon | Drax | Nova | Iron Man

-- 08/04/14

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