As Vol. 3 of Guardians of the Galaxy opens, genetically engineered Rocket the Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper with motion-capture acting by Sean Gunn) suffers a combat-related injury.
Rocket needs life-saving medical treatment, but that could trigger his “kill switch” and the quirky raccoon will die. The Guardians of the Galaxy must find out how to disconnect Rocket’s kill switch, thus saving the life of our favorite space pilot raccoon.
Created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Keith Giffen, Rocket the Raccoon first appeared in Marvel Preview #7 within the story “The Sword and the Star”. It was Giffen’s first gig in comics, after dropping off his portfolio at Marvel while taking a week’s vacation from his job as an animal transporter for a large pharmaceutical company. Penciller-extraordinaire, Giffen never went to art school.
In the MCU, Rocket is also known as 89P13. It has been said that his name and aspects of his character were inspired by the 1968 Beatles’ song “Rocky Raccoon”.
Rocket is not a typical raccoon. He has been cybernetically enhanced by alien scientists, with qualities such as superior intelligence, strength, durability, reflexes and senses. A key member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket is an expert marksman, weapons specialist and master tactician, who also serves as the team’s go-to-engineer. A prolific inventor, Rocket is a genius with a sarcastic attitude whose life is filled with chaos.
Bradley Cooper describes Rocket’s voice as “Gilbert Gottfried meets Joe Pesci”. This, fueled by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen’s initial raccoon character, coupled with James Gunn’s brilliant GotG3 screenwriting, and his younger brother Sean’s mo-cap, have delivered a procyonid like none other. And that is reason enough to check out Vol. 3.