This time next year, we'll know whether it's truly possible to make fans like a character.
When you explain Rocket Raccoon to people, they
tend to have the same reaction: "why does Marvel think anybody is going to care about that?" Of course, most of the people who don't care about Guardians of the Galaxy now are the same folks who didn't care about Iron Man or Thor a few years ago, either.
Rocket Raccoon was first introduced in 1976, but it wasn't until 1985 that he got an origin (drawn by Mike Mignola, no less)! Why then? It probably had something to do with a popular little animal-themed indie comic that had come out the year before and was making all the money. All the money!
Like last time, Marvel Legends Series 5 has opted for a Build-A-Minifigure that's split among three figures in the series, rather
than a full-sized BAF divived among everybody. And while the figures do come with instructions (in case you can't figure out that the head goes on top of his neck, or the tail goes in the only socket sized for it), we don't get any "Tales of Rocket Raccoon" info. Is that because Hasbro's giving up on the idea, or because Rocket Raccoon really hasn't done anything of note?
The "white" areas of fur on his face are actually more of a pale gray, which means there's less contrast between them and the rest of his fur. His beady little eyes are painted gold, for some reason - in the comics, they were originally bright blue, but have more recently been uncolored (suggesting they're black or brown, like most animals).
If Rocket were a real raccoon, the Marvel Universe figure would be closer to being in a 6" scale than this toy is. Marvel's official sources list Rocket as being 4' tall, but he's never once in all of creation been drawn that size. Maybe they're counting all the way to the end of his tail, instead of his feet? That might do it. This figure stands about 3" tall, which is a little large - 2½" would have worked a little better. Whenever you see Rocket Raccoon standing next to someone, he comes up a little higher than their knees, not all the way to their groin (or, if he were really 4' tall, to their waist).
Somewhere, deep in the heart of him, Marvel Legends Rocket Raccoon is the same sculpt as Marvel Universe Rocket Raccoon. Many of the details are the same, from the pose of the legs to the tufts of fur on his head. Even his tail curls the same way! Whoever sculpted Rocket was clearly working from the same source material as the previous toy, but everything has been redone to present a higher level of detail. His uniform shares many of the same wrinkles, but it also has a texture now that wasn't seen before. He still has buttons on his chest and gloves (in twos and fours instead of threes and sixes), but they have tiny, sculpted thread-holes, here. His fur is thicker and more detailed. Everything about this sculpt has been kicked up to 11.
The same goes for the articulation. Rocket Raccoon has a hinged jaw, balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel gloves, swival waist and a balljointed tail. There's no leg articulation, but are you really going to miss that? You can stand him on his own two feet if you're careful, but it's easier to keep him upright by using the tail to fake a nice, stable tripod. Considering that the small figure only had two joints in total, this is a major upgrade!
Rocket does come equipped with a gun (to shoot off the legs of his rival). It's a nice piece, a black space gun with a tiny silver bayonet in front and a large red missile on top, but it's just one gun. Have you seen Rocket Raccoon in Marvel vs. Capcom 3? He's like Cable and Bishop combined!
One gun makes him look naked. Luckily, you can lend him the extras from Hit-Monkey. He also looks superb with Star-Lord's Kree submachine guns. (In case you missed it, you can see the evidence of that in the photos up above.)
Whether you care about Rocket Raccoon as a character or not, it doesn't matter: this is a very nicely made toy, with a killer sculpt and smartly chosen articulation. Plus, you only have to buy three figures to complete him, and they're pretty good, themselves.
Wrecker | Jean Grey | Black Panther