I AM GROOT #1 has some serious plot problems, but quality dialogue and gorgeous art make it a worthwhile read.
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A Decent Start

One of the many new series capitalizing on the hype from the release of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, I AM GROOT #1 centers on the (mis)adventures of the Marvel Universe’s favorite sapling. Writer Christopher Hastings delivers a lackluster plot but succeeds somewhat in masking it with solid dialogue. Artist Flaviano and colorist Marcio Menyz, however, excel by rendering every page with stunningly expressive characters and detailed backgrounds.

Somewhere in the Milky Way…

In the opening pages of I AM GROOT #1, Star-Lord catches the title character joyriding in their spaceship, the Milano. Baby Groot, desperate for action, has piloted the Guardians towards a disturbance in space-time. While Star-Lord is trying to steer them away, Groot jumps on the control panel, sending them into the disturbance. The Guardians escape back into their space-time, but not before Groot accidentally ejects himself in an escape pod. Stranded in this alternate dimension, he descends to a mysterious technological planet called Terminal and encounters some familiar faces.

Image from I AM GROOT #1 courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

An Implausible Premise

Even for a story starring an anthropomorphic tree in space, this issue’s plot is hard to believe. The Guardians, who have gone toe-to-toe with Thanos, somehow can’t keep a tiny tree from messing around with their spaceship. Not only does Groot take control of the ship once, but, after the Guardians catch him, they let him do so again while they are watching him. These four universally renowned heroes apparently don’t have the reflexes to catch a sapling jumping from the floor onto the very control panel they’re clustered around. Thankfully, the story becomes more believable, albeit rushed, after Groot descends to Terminal.

Image from I AM GROOT #1 courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Same Lovable Characters

Aside from their unusual incompetence, these characters are the Guardians we know and love. Hastings nails each character’s distinct voice, from Star-Lord’s sarcasm and Rocket’s sassiness to Gamora and Drax’s no-nonsense attitudes. Despite his three-word vocabulary, Groot’s personality shines through when he interacts with his teammates. The dialogue waxes expository at times but is expected in a first issue.

READ: Want more Guardians? Check out our thoughts on GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2!

Detail-Packed Pages

While Hastings’ writing does the Guardians’ personalities justice, Flaviano’s artwork is equally responsible for the issue’s stellar characterization. Each face is wonderfully expressive, and, with a laconic main character, conveying emotions visually becomes all the more important. Flaviano ensures that we see everything from Groot’s childish excitement to his sadness and fear.

Image from I AM GROOT #1 courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Flaviano’s attention to detail is constantly apparent, and Menyz wonderfully complements his art with ever-present yet always-changing cosmic backgrounds. Their work is not just beautiful, however, but also creates deliberate emotional effects: Flaviano utilizes sparser backgrounds during action scenes to speed up the pacing, and Menyz’s red tones convey Groot’s fear and make the reader feel the same stress that he does.

READ: Looking for more Guardians books? Check out our review of ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1!

I AM GROOT #1: The Bottom Line

I AM GROOT #1 is a promising start to the new series. The artwork never ceases to amaze

and glimpses of quality writing are visible through the book’s plot issues. Marvel may be doing everything it can to profit from Baby Groot’s cuteness, but this series is no gimmick. I AM GROOT #1 may not be perfect, but its fun characters and gorgeous visuals will make you excited for the series’ sophomore issue next month.

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