ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT
“A genetically engineered raccoon and a regenerating, tree-like humanoid, Rocket and Groot make for a one of a kind duo -– not sure what kind, but definitely one of a kind.”
I didn’t get much chance to mention it, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was one of my favorite movies of this past year. I very much enjoyed the first one, so I was expecting to like the sequel, but I was actually a little surprised by just how much I liked it. It’s possibly my favorite MCU film yet, and that’s a pretty big thing for me to say. Despite my immense enjoyment of the film, up until recently, I had very little in the way of toys from it. Why? Because of poor distribution, that’s why. But it’s sort of getting better now. Without further ado, here’s everyone’s favorite space-fairing smuggling duo since Han Solo and Chewbacca, Rocket and Groot!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Rocket Raccoon and Groot are “figure” 1 in the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends, which is the second Guardians-themed assortment of 2017, following January’s Titus Series. Though both characters are billed in a way that might suggest this is a two-pack, this is really a Rocket figure that includes a small Groot figurine as an accessory. So, with that in mind, I’ll be reviewing them that way. Rocket stands about 3 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation. Rocket is an all-new sculpt, re-using no pieces from the prior version of the character. That’s definitely for the best; while I never hated the older figure, there’s no denying that it was by far the weakest of the original set. The articulation is definitely much improved over the prior figure; this guy actually can move his legs, which is a definite *step* up. Get it? …Yeah. The articulated legs mean that this Rocket figure can actually stand a bit better than the last figure, and he’s just a lot less clunky in general. He also largely improves the film accuracy of Rocket. The texture on the hair is definitely of a higher detail and the overall proportions seem a bit more balanced and consistent with Rocket’s CG model. The figure as a whole is a fair bit smaller than the last one, which is definitely a plus, since that one was a bit on the large side. While the body certainly has a lot of improvements, the greatest leaps are definitely on the head, or should I say heads? There are two of them around, offering us two different expressions for Rocket. There’s a slightly more calm one, and then there’s one that’s looks like he’s going ballistic. Both heads sport a lot more character than the prior head, which looked more like a generic raccoon. I really like how well they’ve captured Rocket’s expressions here, and the level of detail on both heads is truly amazing. Hasbro’s really been improving on paint, and Rocket definitely falls in line with that. His head uses the new matrix printing stuff they’ve been trying out recently, which allows for more variation to the shades of his fur. It’s still a bit more jarring than it would be in real life, but it’s great for the scale and price point. The rest of the paint is respectable work all around; the application is pretty clean and it all matches up nicely with the film. Rocket is packed with a pair of blasters (fun fact: the one in his right hand is actually patterned on the Nerf Nitefinder IX-3; thanks Tim!), as well as the torso of Mantis. There’s also the previously mentioned Groot figurine. This little guy’s about 3/4 of an inch tall. He’s got no articulation, but that’s excusable at this scale. I do wish he could stand a little better; you have to sort of bend his legs out and set him in place. He’s depicted here in his Ravager jumpsuit, which is well rendered, and the sculpt is general is quite nice and accurate to Groot’s on-screen counterpart. Some of the details are a little soft, but again, at this scale, I’ll forgive some of that.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was a bit let down by the last Rocket, so I was eager to get the new one. Since he’s the double packed character from this series, I’ve actually seen him a few times, but held off on grabbing him until I was certain I could find the whole series. I stopped at a TRU on the way home from work with the hopes of finding some Black Series figures, and while I had no luck with those, I did find the whole Mantis Series, so I was able to grab a Rocket finally. I remember feeling that the Vol. 1 Rocket wasn’t really worth the $20 price tag, given his lower quality and small stature. I feel with this one the price is far more warranted. The extra posablilty is awesome, and he’s leaps and bounds ahead of his predecessor. I mean, I thought Star-Lord was a huge improvement, but this one makes the old Rocket look like a sad trash panda.