Subscribers to Marvel Unlimited, the all-you-can-eat digital services, are being ordered $20 off the standard annual $70-a-year subscription service for Cyber Monday. And if you are the kind of person who, like me, signed up on a previous Cyber Monday, it’s come at a perfect time to re-up my subscription. Especially since the crashing pound (thanks Liz Truss) has made the sterling price a lot more expensive. And to sweeten the pot, Marvel has launched a Marvel Unlimited exclusive return of Al Ewing two Rocket Raccoons for today, Strange Tales: Toy Boxes drawn by Ramon Bach’scolored city Javier Tartaglialettered by Joe Sabino and edited by Mark Basso, in the downscrolling webtoon format which should be called Marverticals, but isn’t, instead it is called Infinity Comics so as to confuse people with the DC Universe Infinite digital service.
Designed especially for the webtoon format, it begins with Rocket Raccoon falling down a very tall chimney. And revisiting Rocket Raccoon’s weirdest of origin stories again, for those looking to catch up from the Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special.
With Rocket Raccoon now re-described as a to be a therapy animal for the patients of Halfworld. When Rocket Raccoon first appeared in Incredible Hulk #271 written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Hall Buscema, it was an insane world without much logic to it. That was kind of the point.
Bill Mantlo would then write the 1985 Rocket Raccoon mini-series drawn by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, which would actually lay some kind of logic on the above structure, which did indeed have humans just known as “loonies”, descendants of an insane asylum established on the planet.
And it is these sequences of events that Al Ewing revisits today.
Originally it was portrayed as an abandoned colony for the mentally ill in which animals were genetically manipulated by robots to grant them human-level intelligence to become caretakers of the inmates, so that the robots tasked with their care could leave. Although all of this was thrown up as a possible illusion created by The Stranger courtesy of one inset panel of Quasar #17 city Mark Gruenwald spirit Mike Manley.
But there are problems with Rocket Raccoon’s memories.
In the Anhilliators series city Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning spirit Timothy Green II, Rocket Raccoon returned to Halfworld and found what he thought was just an illusion. And a new reality explained by his former wife.
With Halfworld just a major asylum space station/planet.
With Rocket Raccoon and the other animals designed to calm patients from the get go. No original shrinks, no psychiatrists, no robot overlords…
And it was only an assault by a psychic patient that saw Rocket Raccoon wipe out his own memories and leave..
Something Al Ewing himself revisited when writing the Rocket! series drawn by Adam Gorham.
But even then, suggesting that these might all be unreliable memories.
And now Rocket Raccoon is revisiting his own past and attempts to retcon it as a grim and grittier version. And not knowing which way is up. And maybe… retconning the retcon?
More twists to come of course. Al Ewing and Ramon Bach’s putting right what once went wrong, restoring Halfworld in his own unique way… and available on Marvel Unlimited today, with the CYBERMONDAY code… and bringing back the Mole. And all these series are available on Marvel Unlimited, links above.