Groot Roots in All New Guardians of the Galaxy 9

By Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The origin story is a quintessential tale for any hero, whether they be major character who headlines movies or one that would only be familiar to the most knowledgeable comic book reader. Many of these stories are so well-known that many people know where Superman or Spider-Man got their powers from even if they’ve never picked up a monthly. But not all heroes enjoy such clarity when it comes to their origins, and such is the case with Groot. There seems to be no consensus on where Groot came from, so in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 9 Gerry Duggan figures he may was well take stab at telling the story of Groot’s roots.

Rocket and Groot are on a mission to obtain information on the layout of a vault on Citopia when they are ambushed by the Gardener. This Gardener, who we’ve seen periodically throughout the past nine issues, easily puts Rocket in his place before Groot sacrifices himself to save his furry companion. It’s not exactly clear what the Gardener intends for Groot, but it is clear that he had some hand in Groot’s creation.

That Groot is meant to destroy comes as a bit of shock, given how likable and gentle the character is. I can only wonder what the Gardener will do to make Groot into a malevolent force. More curious than this, though, is to consider just what the Gardener is doing here. He’s supposedly one of the most ancient forces in the universe and the progenitor of all plant life, so it’s strange to wonder what exactly Groot will be destroying. Will it be other life (meat) forms like Rocket, who he so clearly disdains? Will it be mechanical life and machines? Will Groot go back to his roots and kill that which he loves (his meat friends), or will he stand up to his creator? Whatever his choice, the origin of Groot promises to play a significant role in the upcoming Guardians issues.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

One comment on “Groot Roots in All New Guardians of the Galaxy 9

  1. One of the strengths of Duggan’s run is how he is looking at the entire history of the Guardians to build and synthesise and brand new vision, a vision that combines everything into a singular vision and give the Guardians the stability they need. And so it is fitting that Duggan returns to Groot’s very first issue, and casts him as someone that is meant to be a destroyer.

    And it is especially fitting that this issue comes out almost immediately after Marvel released their Kirby 100th Anniversary issues, which included the first issue of one of their oldest heroes, Groot (first appearance? 1959!). Where, of course, Groot was a destroyer.

    But the issue doesn’t entirely work. THe Gardener reveal doesn’t work, because everyone goes Who? I’m not entirely sure if we are supposed to recognise him or not, but he isn’t a great reveal. And while We Are Groot was one of the most powerful moments of the Guardians movie, the same effect isn’t found here. Honestly, I think it comes down to the art. We/You Are Groot is an incredibly powerful phrase that must be properly done to be successful, and to do that, you need to put everything into making sure it works. When you break the rules, make it count. Because We/You Are Groot can only work if every use is the most powerful moment you can imagine. And while Groot saying that before sacrificing himself for Rocket is a great time (though undercut by Groot already planning a way out by giving Rocket a twig), the scene needed to be a million times more intimate. There is a reason the movie literally had the Guardians surrounded by Groot. The effect is just lessened.

    But honestly, the biggest problem is that everything feels too ordinary. The Dyson Ring could have been a cool idea, but it is not used. Just houses the world’s most boring home of scum and villainy. Mos Eisley, it isn’t. But more importantly, the Gardener or any of the plot never comes across as big enough of a deal to be this big, powerful moment. Something massive needs to happen. A feeling that this truly is too dangerous. THe Gardener needed a show of strength beyond what we expect Rocket to deal with on a day to day basis, something that requires escape. And the Gardener’s control of Groot’s roots needed to be much more obvious, much more effective. THe plant equivalent of body horror. Make Groot’s death feel meaningful and epic, not obligatory.

    On the other hand, what a fantastic final page. I was disappointed, but that was honestly a fantastic villain reveal. So fitting, and like the best of these single issues, introduces a completely new element that massively affects the narrative

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