Perhaps the most controversial– and hard to explain and/or sell– member of the Guardians of the Galaxy team is Rocket Raccoon.  The character will appear in next year’s big budget action movie which will  put the Universe in Marvel Universe.  The character will obviously be rendered in CGI with award-winning leading man Bradley Cooper providing his voice.

The character first appeared in the adult-skewed black & white magazine ‘Marvel Preview’ #7, before scooting over to the mainstream Marvel U in ‘The Incredible Hulk’ #271.  A lush world was settled by humanoid aliens to do research and care for ailing patients.  However they lost funding and abandoned the planet leaving the patients behind in the care of robots.  When the planet’s sun went supernova, the robots became sentient and felt that they were superior to the patients they were tasked with caring for.  So they made the animals of the planet intelligent and left, to settle the other side of the planet, which they strip mined, basically draining its resources and giving the planet the name Halfworld.

In ‘The Incredible Hulk’ #271, the lead hero is teleported to Halfworld and befriends Rocket Raccoon and Wal Rus, helping them against the evil Judson Jakes.  Also introduced is Lylla, Rocket Raccoon’s girlfriend who is an otter.

Later, Rocket Raccoon headlined his own miniseries detailing the events of the Toy War.  On Halfworld, toys were the major industry as they were essential to entertain the humanoid patients.  Judson Jakes owned the largest toy maker, but another company opened and a war broke out.  Rocket and his allies opposed both companies, which then teamed up against these rebels.

In the end, the humans were healed and the animals and robots departed the planet to explore the galaxy.  After several adventures, Rocket was captured by the Kree and freed by Peter Quill, Starlord.  He then joined the Guardians of the Galaxy.  He quickly formed a close connection to Groot, the living tree.

Rocket Raccoon has the same abilities as an Earth raccoon, enhanced senses, night vision and a thick coat with an undercoat to insulate him from the cold.  He’s also a skilled pilot, marksman and strategist.  And can talk.  I suppose that’s kind of a super power.

Yes it’s an unusual character and one I’ve had trouble explaining to my friends.  But he has a cult following and it’s been said that he and Groot will be the heart of the movie.

Will Rocket Raccoon break out and steal the movie?  Or will he be the Jar Jar Binks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ starring Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro, and Michael Rooker blasts off on August 1st, 2014.