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Rocket Raccoon (Marvel Comics) (Classic Mantlo)

Rocket Raccoon

(Profile #1 - Classic)


Context

The “Classic” era covers all Rocket Raccoon appearances prior to his 2007 return in Annihilation: Conquest. The character was different back then, and the stories were much goofier and taking place in their own setting. But it was cool too – just different.

The second part of this article is a character profile for the modern version of Rocket Raccoon – the one who appeared in 2007.


Background

  • Real Name: Ranger Rocket Raccoon.
  • Other Aliases: “Rocky”. In Francophone games I’ll suggest translating his name to Raton Laser, because as far as I’m concerned it’s hilarious.
  • Marital Status: Single, though he might be engaged to Lylla.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Partner of Wal Russ and Lylla.
  • Base Of Operations: Keystone Quadrant.
  • Height: 4’ Weight: 55 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Gray-brown, black and white fur.


Powers & Abilities

Rocket is one tough ’coon. He is a superior gunfighter with lightning reflexes, a good athlete, and has nerves of steel. Being small and quick on his feet, he’s very hard to hit with gunfire. Since his body mass is so low, he normally fights with weapons.

Ranger Rocket’s signature gear are “rocket skates” (jet boots) and a laser pistol. His vest is reinforced to protect him, but if hit hard enough it will be ruined and Rocket will have to ditch it and don a new one. The rocket skates’ exhaust is also a powerful, though short-ranged, weapon.

Rocket Raccoon vs. the baddies of Halfworld

Rocket and his buddy Wal Rus flew a spaceship called the Rakk ’n’ Ruin. It was a tubular rocket that could carry a half-dozen people on intra-system trips. However, it was destroyed during the Toys War.

Rocket has a highly developed sense of smell. He also can easily hear low rumbling sounds. But otherwise his senses seem very similar to a human’s. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if he had a raccoon-like night vision and sense of touch, but it wasn’t actually demonstrated.

He seems to be an adequate juggler. Most Halfworld uplifts  seem to have carnival-style entertainment skills.


Krazy Keystone Kapers

Once upon a time, an advanced human or very-near-human civilisation came to consider that certain mental patients were incurable. The patients’ doctors objected. They then created a project where they would find a suitable colony planet and focus on their research. There, they would prove that the patients could be cured.

After a long flight, the hospice ships found the Keystone Quadrant solar system. They landed and established infrastructures on what would become Halfworld.

A large industrial base was established on one hemisphere. It was a barren environment crewed by robots. The other half of the world was an idyllic, rural environment where the patients frolicked and the doctors ran their research programs.

Rocket Raccoon's rocketship the Rakk 'n' Ruin

The Rakk ’n’ Ruin.

Some robots were caretakers for the inmates. The physicians had also brought a large number of tame animals to serve as pets, for the emotional comfort and stimulation of the patients.

As with all caretaking programs for mental patients through space and time, the funding was eventually cut. The doctors had to return home and leave the inmates behind, but left everything running. They erected an impenetrable barrier around the solar system, to prevent invaders from harming the patients.

Grumpy robots

Over time and due to radiation from a nova explosion, the AI of the robots became full intelligence. They came to resent their job, as they couldn’t understand their illogical charges.

They created new caretakers to free themselves of their responsibilities — by uplifting  animals and teaching them to care for the patients.

As the robots retired to their own hemisphere to concentrate on their own projects, the uplifts gradually took over the other half of Halfworld. However, many came to wonder what sort of weird world they were living in, since the robots hadn’t explained anything.

Running the asylum, part 1

The inmates in Keystone seem completely human. The species of uplifted animals also seem identical to XXth century Earth species.

There are numerous references to Western cultures on Earth, such as the Keystone Kops  from early XXth century American silent films. A major building was called Cuckoo’s Nest , and pretending to be Napoléon Bonaparte  was recurrent.

The doctors came from a civilisation where erecting stellar-scale megastructures  was apparently common.

Rocket Raccoon vs. evil clowns

Everybody was speaking modern US English – there was no language barrier when the Hulk visited. The one exception was the medical research. It was in a different but not completely unrelated language – perhaps German.

There have been many generations of patients. Despite a caption to the contrary, it seems reasonable to assume that their condition is inheritable. It is, however, harmless. The patients are childlike and live in individual or shared pretend-worlds.

Running the asylum, part 2

Making up stuff to keep the patients busy and entertained seemed fairly easy for the uplifts, especially with the resources available. And the patients loved simple entertainment such as clowns, music or dressing up in costumes.

The humans on Halfworld aren’t really insane. They’re much closer to being small children who can never grow up. As a setting full of eternal children, talking animals, toys, entertainment, etc. Halfworld is much more about childhood than about actual psychological ailments.

As to the uplifts, they are genetically modified. A child of two uplifts will also have an uplifted brain and body. Apparently uplifts of different base species can breed, though how it works is unrevealed.

The patients calls themselves “the loonies”, and the uplifts call themselves “the animals”. The doctors are remembered as “the shrinks”. The animals usually address the loonies as “your mindlessness”.

Toys ’r’ up

The animals are the ones in charge of designing the toys, costumes, widgets, androids, etc. to keep the loonies happy. To do so they created a sort of corporation called Inter-Stel Mechanics. It sends the blueprints and specs to the robots for production.

Apparently there were divergences among the uplifts. Some (such as Rocket) considered that their duty was to entertain the loonies for free. But the corporate types wanted to be paid in delicious animal crackers – which the loonies would bake for them in exchange for higher-tech toys.

By the time of Rocket Raccoon there had been a corporate split. Inter-Stel now had a competitor, Dyvynities, Inc., run by the uplifted snake Lord Dyvyne. Inter-Stel was owned by an otter named Lylla. She had inherited it from her parents – but was too young to run it. Thus her corporation was being administered by that most megalomaniacal mole, Judson Jakes.

Lord Dyvyne’s muscle was chiefly the Black Bunny Brigade – mercenary black-furred rabbits with laser rifles, led by one Blackjack O’Hare. The bulk of Dyvyne’s troops were markedly less competent samurai chimps. On his end Judson Jakes relied on the Psycho-Circus, a small army of killer clown robots.


Kontinuity Kaos Klub

Rocket Raccoon was created in 1975 for the black-and-white Marvel line. He was a character in Bill Mantlo’s Sword in the Star series. That was a sci-fi story about Homeric Ancient Greek-themed warriors in space.

The first episode of Sword in the Star was published in 1976 in Starlord (hence the association with Peter Quill when Rocky returned in 2007). But Starlord was cancelled before the second episode, which introduced Rocket Raccoon, could be run. Since it was already written and drawn it was run in Marvel Preview instead, a few months later.

Rocket Raccoon angry face closeup

Mantlo used a revised version of Rocket Raccoon in a bizarre Hulk story. It was something halfway between Carl Barks -style talking animals and an acid trip. This 1982 appearance seemingly drew enough attention to be developed into a 1985 mini-series.

There are minor discrepancies between the 1982 appearance and the 1985 one. This article treats the 1985 LS as the primary source.

Concept evolution

In his 1976 appearance Rocky lived as a poacher on a planet called Witch-World. He had a stereotypical British-as-seen-from-the-US accent and mannerisms. Witch-World was dominated by — wait for it — witches, with a general Kirbyesque style.

Since Sword in the Star was taking place millennia in the future, it seems likely that this encounter has yet to occur from Rocket’s point of view. It will likely involve time travel. Marvel’s stance seems to be that it was in continuity, but when and how is left unspecified.

In 2011, the Halfworld stories were retroactively reframed as something else. This is not covered in this here profile, which is about Mantlo’s classic Rocket Raccoon.


History

Back during the 1980s, Ranger Rocket Raccoon was the lawman (lawcoon ?) of the Keystone Quadrant. His job was mostly to intervene in conflicts between uplifts.

Like all uplifts, he also cared for the patients. He let a small group of humans play at being cops by making them his “deputies”. They were given uniforms, cars, etc. based on the Keystone Kops so they could help a bit.

Rocket himself lived with Lylla, an uplifted otter, and her uncle Wal Rus. Both Lylla and Wal apparently often accompanied the Ranger on cases. They could provide far more help than the useless loonies. Wal Rus in particular specialised as a pilot, mechanic, techie and heavy weapon support.

Rocket Raccoon vs. a one-wheeled clown

In 1982, Judson Jakes, then the head of Inter-Stel Mekaniks, stole the Gideon’s Bible. Those were the notes left behind by the shrinks. He hoped that the writings held the key to more power. Rocket Raccoon intervened. He was unexpectedly joined by the Hulk, who had just been teleported on Halfworld by the Galaxy Master.

With the jade giant’s help, Jakes’ killer klowns were soon smashed and the Bible recovered.

Lord Dyvyne then won his cold war against Judson Jakes. As a result, he took over the Spacewheel — the orbital HQ of Inter-Stel. The mole founded Mayhem Mekaniks, a rival corporation, dreaming of eliminating his rival by any means. It is possible that the damage done to Jakes’ troops by Rocket and the Hulk is what gave Dyvyne the upper hand.

Passionate bright young things

In 1985, Judson Jakes had a robotic clown assassin murder Lord Dyvyne’s toys designer. Dyvyne demanded that the law intervene and apprehend Jakes. But his actual plan was to get rid of Rocket to force Lylla to marry him, thus becoming the legal owner of Inter-Stel.

Rocket and Wal fought to free Lylla. But Dyvyne’s chief mercenary Blackjack O’Hare betrayed his employer as he wanted to marry Lylla and become Inter-Stel’s boss. O’Hare was defeated, but in the meantime the two toy moguls had allied to get rid of their common enemies.

Rocket Raccoon fights the Red Breath

As Rocket, Wal and Lylla evaded pursuit, they discovered that the greatest toy designer on Halfworld, Uncle Pyko, had deciphered the writings left by the shrinks. This was an unprecedented feat. Even Rocket had never managed to understand the strange language used by the shrinks in their logs. Pyko told the fugitives about the origins of Halfworld.

Pyko then suggested a plan. He would have the robots’ central computer analyse the research of the shrinks to formulate a cure for the loonies. In return, he would be granted Inter-Stel. Rocket and Lylla agreed after Pyko promised that the toys would be distributed for free rather than paid in delicious crackers.

Battle cries and champagne

Digesting the shrinks’ research, the robots created helmets called the Wonder Toy. Rocket, Pyko and their friends set up a travelling show to give Wonder Toys to all loonies. But Dyvyne and Judson then attacked with their chimpanzee swordsmen and killer klowns.

Rocket and his allies were about to be overwhelmed when the loonies, fully cured by their Wonder Toys, charged in and rescued them.

With the humans cured, Halfworld was over. The robots wanted to leave in their giant spaceship. Most animals decided to join them as they considered that their job was now done. Rocket, accompanied by Wal and Lylla, embarked on the ship as he wanted to see the universe.

Rocket Raccoon holding the book of the Shrinks

Left to right – uncle Pyko, Lylla, Rocket, Wal and some robot.

What happened next is unrevealed. But Rocket Raccoon was apparently captured by the Stranger, separated from the others and brought to a laboratory world. When Quasar took down the security there, Rocket was glimpsed among the dozens of exotic beings who broke out.

Two years later, he landed his starship on Dandesh-4 to refuel. There, he was attacked and petrified when he discovered that the locals weren’t D’Bari people, but camouflaged Carbon Copy Men. She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) and her allies later freed him.

In 2005, Rocket was spotted on Earth, in the superhuman division offices of law firm Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway. His reasons for being there remain unrevealed. Perhaps he had come to visit She-Hulk, who worked there as a legal counsel.


Description

Rocket looks like a slightly humanised, somewhat cartoony Earth raccoon. He wears a green leotard, often with an uniform vest thrown above it. He occasionally smokes a pipe when relaxing.

All illustrations depict the 1985 appearance, since for this article we’ll consider it the authoritative one.


Personality

Rocket was presented like a Texas Ranger from an old Western dime novel. He’s a ’coon of action defending the innocents and enforcing unspecified laws against all odds. He is smart and courageous, unhesitatingly leaping into action whenever needed.

Rocket Raccoon and allies shooting lasers

His characterisation is generally that of a 1950s heroic cowboy. Lylla is the fiancée and Wal Rus is the Indian sidekick. However, this Raccoon will often launch into trademark overwrought Mantlo tirades – the quotes have some examples of this.

Rocket believes in the animals’ mission – to provide unconditional care and entertainment to the loonies and thus keep the world running. However, he wishes he could understand what all this mess means, how it came to be, and how to live in a sane world.

For a long while he tried to decipher the Gideon’s Bible – the logs of the shrinks. But he did not seem to have relevant skills.

Once the loonies were cured, Rocket felt free to leave as the uplifts, while welcome to stay, were no longer needed as caretakers.


Quotes

“I’d like some *proof* if you don’t mind, Dyvyne, before I place Jakes under arrest.”

“Some of these lethal laughers are just dying to kill me ! Enjoy playing ringmaster to these deranged destroyers while you can, Jakes — ’cause I’m gonna fold the tent of your diabolical big top !”

“It’s every animal’s duty to entertain the incarcerates of Cuckoo’s Nest !”

“Lord Dyvyne’s kidnapped Lylla, my soul-mate… and that really makes my fur fly !”

“Wal, I’m pledged to protect the humans of Halfworld ! I’ve gotta keep that insidious eraser away from ’em — while you try t‘find Lylla and get her out of here !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Rocket Raccoon

Dex: 05 Str: 00 Bod: 02 Motivation: Responsibility
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Sheriff
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 017 HP: 030

Powers:
Analytical smell/tracking scent: 05, Extended hearing: 03, Shrinking: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Extended Hearing only for low frequencies such as rumbling sounds and vibrations.
  • Shrinking is Always On and Already Factored In.

Skills:
Accuracy (Jet Skates exhaust): 07, Acrobatics (Dodging): 04, Artist (Juggling): 03, Evasion (Aerial and Ranged only): 07, Weaponry (Firearms): 06

Advantages
Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes, Police Rank (Rocket seems to be the only police in the Keystone Quadrant).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Dependent (Lylla, 5 pts since she’s fairly competent), MPR (Rocket’s small size can be a drawback, but this is rare), MPR (Rocket is limited to 2 APs of ground speed by his Shrinking), Public Identity. On other planets, Rocket might have an Appearance Drawback.

Equipment:

  • Laser pistol [BODY 02, Laser beam: 07, R#02].
  • JET SKATES [BODY 02, Flight: 06, Mental blast (Range 00): 06].
  • VEST [BODY 05, Damage capacity: 06, Limitation: Damage Capacity cannot be Recovered, though Rocket has spare VESTs.].

Design notes

The stats are speculative. The story is mostly about the weirdness. Thus the characterisation and action aren’t the focus, resulting in little material to peg numbers on. For instance he could easily have more Skills. But that’s all that was demonstrated – he just flew around and shot stuff.

These stats assume that none of the opponents battled by Rocket Raccoon were particularly tough. The armies of Dyvyne and Jakes were easily defeated by the humans using random nearby items as clubs, and there is no reason to assume that most killer clowns and their ilk had stats much above 02.

His strength is assumed to be at the level you’d expect from a 55 pounds procyonid. He’s never seen demonstrating a remarkable degree of strength – and always fights with his gun and skates.

It might be necessary to rescale the STR and BODY scores if the campaign features uplifts in the same general height/weight ballpark as Rocket. Just assume that they have human-scale scores in these areas, and treat human-sized persons as having Growth compared to the uplifts.



Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Rocket Raccoon (Mantlo version) — Averaged PL6.6

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
-3 0 03 04 03 01 01 01

Powers

Professional procyonid ● 4 points ● Descriptor: Raccoon
– Sense of smell — Senses 3 (Acute Extended Tracking Olfactory)
– Sense of hearing — Senses 1 (Extended Ultra-Hearing, Limited 1 to low frequencies)

Jet boots expert ● 6 points ● Descriptor: Skill
– Close combat (Jet boots exhaust) 6 (+11)
– Enhanced Parry 3 and Enhanced Dodge 1 (both Limited 1 – Only when flying with the jet boots)
– Evasion and Move-by Action (both Limited 1 – Only when flying with the jet boots)

Devices

Laser pistol ● 12 points
Ranged Laser Damage 6

Jet Skates ● 16 points
– Flight 5
– Exhaust — Close Blunt Damage 5, Reach 1

Combat Advantages

Accurate Attack, Close Attack 2, Evasion, Improved Initiative, Move-by-Action.

Other Advantages

Benefit 2 (Only real police in the Keystone Quadrant), Equipment 1, Fearless, Inspire 1.

Equipment

Protective vest — Protection 2 ● 2 points

Skills

Athletics 8 (+5), Close combat (Unarmed) 2 (+7), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise (Juggler) 2 (+5), Expertise (Keystone Sheriff) 5 (+6), Insight 3 (+4), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 2 (+3), Ranged combat (Laser) 6 (+10)

Offense

Initiative +7
Unarmed +7, Close, Damage -3
Laser pistol +10, Ranged, Damage 6
Jet boots exhaust +11, Close (Reach 1), Damage 5

Defense

Dodge 12*/11 Fortitude 1
Parry 11*/8 Toughness 2**/0
Will 6

* Only while flying with the jet boots
** With vest

Complications

  • Sheriff Rocket is the only lawman in the Keystone Quadrant, and proudly does the job.
  • Dependents Lylla occasionally gets kidnapped, as per tradition.
  • Short Rocket’s small size and short legs might be a hindrance, but it’s rare.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 8, Dodge/Toughness PL 7, Parry/Toughness PL 7, Fort/Will PL 4.
  • Point total 103 Abilities 20, Defences 19, Skills 17, Powers 10, Devices 28, Advantages 9. Equiv. PL 7.


Notes

The stats are speculative. The story is mostly about the weirdness. As a result, the characterisation and action aren’t the focus, resulting in little material to peg numbers on. For instance he could easily have more Skills. But that’s all that was demonstrated – he just flew around and shot stuff.

These stats assume that none of the opponents battled by Rocket Raccoon were particularly tough. The armies of Dyvyne and Jakes were easily defeated by the humans using random nearby items as clubs, and there is no reason to assume that most killer clowns and their ilk had stats much above 00.

His strength is assumed to be at the level you’d expect from a 55 pounds procyonid. He’s never seen demonstrating a remarkable degree of strength – and always fights with his gun and skates.

It might be necessary to rescale the Strength and Stamina scores if the campaign features uplifts in the same general height/weight ballpark as Rocket. Just assume that they have human-scale scores in these areas, and treat human-sized persons as having Growth compared to the uplifts.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Helper(s): Peter Piispanen, Ethan Roe.

Writeup completed on the 5th of January, 2014.

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