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Groot, in the form of a sky-scraper-sized flaming mass of spikey wood, his eyes and wood-toothy mouth glowing balefully as he smashes into a desert in Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (2023). Image: Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Kev Walker/Marvel Comics

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There’s something terribly, terribly wrong with Groot

Yikes

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Just in time for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the final installment of the blockbuster trilogy that kiiiiinda put it on the comics map in the first place, the Guardians of the Galaxy have a brand-new comic in which the team is... very different from their movie incarnations. Honestly, I admire the chutzpah.

It’s been about two years since the Guardians had their own Marvel Comic series, and this new series, penned by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly with art from Kev Walker, is leaning into the mystery of their very changed circumstances — especially Groot’s.

What turned Groot into a force of interstellar malice, a swarm of roots and branches that makes cataclysmic visits to planet after planet, roots and branches seeking everything and everyone they can root into?

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)


Guardians of the Galaxy #1

Gamora, Star-Lord, and Mantis are in the thick of a laser gun firefight with Nebula providing supportive sniper fire from atop a scifi chimney kind of thing in Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (2023). Image: Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Kev Walker/Marvel Comics

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 presents that question centrally, as we pick up with a Guardians team that movie fans would know by name — Peter Quill, Gamora, Nebula, Mantis, and Drax (Groot’s buddy Rocket conspicuously absent) — in medias res. They’re kitted out like a space Western and trying to convince a backwater space town to get on their ship and evacuate before the worst happens.

The worst is “grootfall,” the arrival of a titanic ball of scraggly plant matter with a face, and it wants make everyone Groot. Our team barely makes it off-world alive, and with only half the people they tried to save — and it seems like they’ve been staying one half-step ahead of Groot for a while now. But for how their big tree buddy wound up in this state, that’s a story Lanzing, Kelly, and Walker intend to reveal in future issues.

Eight Billion Genies #8

Earth and the Moon as seen from space, two genies discuss whether “this cycle” —”The humans breed until they get to eight billion, and then we come down... and the world ends and gets reset, and wait until it’s time to do it all again.” — will ever end. Will humans ever stop wishing? In Eight Billion Genies #8 (2023). Image: Charles Soule, Ryan Browne/Image Comics

Eight Billion Genies — the comic about what happens in the first eight seconds, minutes, days, etc. after every single person on Earth gets their own personal one-wish genie — concluded this past week. On that expansive timeline, Charles Soule and Ryan Browne run through just about every permutation you could possibly get if every human being on Earth got one irreversible wish in the same instant. But EBG never gets so wrapped up in its own thought experiment that it forgets to be about people, and it never gets so caught up in its characters that it forgets to be about how some people would wish for the utterly absurd.

If you haven’t been reading, the trade collection hits shelves in July. This is a good one.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi — Ewoks #1

An ewok carefully rigs a tripwire at speederbike height between two trees in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi — Ewoks #1 (2023). Image: Alyssa Wong, Caspar Wijngaard/Marvel Comics, Lucasfilm

If you read one Star Wars comic this month, make it Star Wars: Return of the Jedi — Ewoks #1, because despite that egregious name it’s a three-story anthology of wordless tales told by a group of Ewoks sitting around a campfire. You got an all-ages fable, a tale of monsters in the woods, and a little Ewok who wanted to go to space. Sweet and simple, one and done. These are the good things in life.

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