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The Guardians' Guide to Stealing the Galaxy

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon & Groot Steal the Galaxy (Marvel)

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Marvel's first original prose novel stars two of the summer box office's biggest team, the Guardians of the Galaxy. Recorder 127, a Rigellian humanoid cybernetic organism whose sole purpose is to travel the galaxy and record its findings, has gone missing. Recorder has within his/its data banks 9 percent of “all existential truth” mined and belonging to the Timely Corporation. The information on Recorder is all that stands in their way of completing Project 616, as they already are in possession of 87 percent. Along with the acceptable missing 9% Timely needs, the Recorder has also seen the contents of their entire Datacorp. Anyone in possession of him/it would have the ability to shape the universe to their own ends. Once the Recorder has fled the coop, Timely reaches out to a Spaceknight and independent contractor named Roamer to track it down and bring it back.

He isn't the only one in pursuit, however. The warmongering Badoon try to capture Recorder before being rebuffed by Rocket Raccoon and Groot. The diminutive psycho killer and his giant tree companion were minding their own floundering zunk business when they witnessed a Badoon patrol picking on the defenseless cyborg. After begrudgingly saving Recorder 127, they escape off-planet where they are chased by the galactic law bureau, the Nova Corps. After a skirmish between the Novas and Roamer, the Kree race gets involved. Just when they think they're safe, they have to face down the Shi'ar. With the entire galaxy looking for the Recorder, as well as our heroes, things have looked better. Not to mention that a certain deadly associate of Rocket and Groot is looking to make some money off this deal as well.

Narrated largely by Recorder 127, “Rocket Raccoon & Groot Steal the Galaxy” is playfully odd, cartoonishly violent, and absurdly funny. Author Dan Abnett (“Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By” and countless Black Library novels), who first put the team together in 2008 during the amazing “Annihilation” Marvel Comics event, expands the vernacular of his characters. He channels his fellow countryman, the late Douglas Adams, with helpful yet screwball exposition and even a “Hitchhikers' Guide” shout-out with a device used to teleport to a target, but only at “the most dramatically satisfying moment”.

Amid the ridiculousness, it is hammered home that even with all of the alien warships fighting over Recorder 127, it is Timely Inc. that are the galaxy's true enemy. The most evil goal imaginable is the corporatization of all at the expense of individuality and culture. That's perhaps a strange message to be coming from the company that is the conglomerate of the Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars brands, but it's still a cause that needs fighting. The Guardians don't usually pick the smart fights but they usually pick the right ones.

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