When we talk about some of the more endearing characters from modern cinema, the odd couple that is Rocket & Groot are high on pretty much every MCU fan’s list. On the one hand we have an enormous, sentient tree, perhaps something of a simpleton, with a pure heart, who’ll do anything to safeguard his friends. On the other, we have a diminutive, acerbic, bio-engineered heavy weapons expert who refuses to acknowledge just how much he cares, unless you’re asking how much he likes high explosives. Their Marvel: Crisis Protocol models have been available for awhile, but they deserve their place in the spotlight as much as anyone else, so today we’re doing a little unboxing.
I’ll confess, I didn’t know a whole lot about Rocket and Groot until Marvel’s 2006 Annihilation event, when they brought Star-Lord back to lead a team of specialists, almost suicide-squad-esque, as the powers that be tried to fight back against the Annihilation Wave that was tearing its way across the galaxy. Rocket and Groot were recruited as a duo once Rocket’s affinity for heavy weapons was uncovered, and Groot essentially served as the mobile weapon platform for which Rocket was the gunner. As with their MCU depiction, they were a highly effective team.
Drax, Gamora and Ronan all had time in the spotlight during Annihilation and the subsequent Annihilation: Conquest, as did Mantis. I heartily recommend reading both series if you get the opportunity.
The box comes with both character cards, a tiny sprue for Rocket, and a much larger sprue for Groot. A selection of bases, the We Are Groot card (group heal, calling back to the his line at the end of the first Guardians movie), and the frankly awesome Deadly Duo card, which allows the pair to act as a weapons platform for bonus attacks. Oh, and tokens, of course.
Rocket’s sprue includes Groot’s branch as a platform for our little gunner. Assembly is straightforward, though it should be noted that Rocket’s snout is a separate piece. You get two of them on the sprue, just in case you lose one, and I recommend that you glue it to his face while the head is still attached to the sprue proper, so you’re not juggling two teensy pieces at the same time. For those who are nervous, this is not a Yan Lo’s Mustache situation at all. The snout positions easily and looks great once it’s all assembled.
I’ve seen a lot of people ditch the twisting branch in favor of a trash can or some other form of elevation, but I think it’s a great aesthetic, and it calls out to the partnership the two characters have.
Completely unrelated, one version of Rocket Raccoon’s origin story has him as the security chief for an intergalactic asylum from the criminally insane, where all the staff are bio-engineered to look like cute and cuddly animals, so as to appear non-threatening to the residents and thus avoid triggering negative behaviors. One of them was a walrus. Make of that what you will.
Groot is, according to some versions of his origin story, the last living Flora Colossus. In other versions, there’s a planet full of them and they’re all bastards, with our Groot being the only one with a conscience. I have to say “our Groot” because they’re all Groot.
Groot’s left arm is held up as a shield, while his right punches into the pavement to later emerge as the piece on Rocket’s base. These two are simply made to be fielded together. The model is based on Groot’s comic incarnation rather than the MCU version, so he’s a tad spikier than the flat-topped movie character. If I had any skill with sculpting whatsoever I’d be tempted to try to put him into his Guardians of the Galaxy uniform from the comics, but I’m good with ol’ barkbutt here.
We’ll take a closer look at their cards and their tabletop synergy once both models are painted, but I when you consider that one adds a Range 5 shot and the other can simultaneously damage, throw and stagger an enemy, it’s safe to say the duo will be featuring in future games in the Gdaycave.
Rocket and Groot are available through your FLGS or preferred online retailer, and would like to talk to you about the benefits of hiring them, especially compared to the risks of ticking them off.