Many movie viewers may think Disney and Marvel have stolen from The Ring Trilogy in bringing Groot to the silver screen when Guardians of the Galaxy rules the August 2014 box office (and who knows, perhaps that was King Kirby’s inspiration) but King Groot (that is right!) traces his Marvel origins all the way back to Tales to Astonish vol. 1 #13 (November 1960).
I am just glad DnA or whoever it was resurrected the character and later teamed him up with Rocket Raccoon, because never was there such a cosmic dynamic duo in the history of comics!
Anyhoo, Groot (also known as the Monarch of Planet X) was created by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee (familiar names, those) and Dick Ayer. An alien, sentient tree-like creature (not an Ent), Groot originally appeared as an invader who intended to capture humans for experimentation. (A mad tree doctor? Bwahahahaha!)
The character was reconfigured into a heroic, noble being in 2006, and appeared in the crossover event, Annihilation: Conquest. (Byron Brewer returns to cosmic comics!) As we all know, or maybe some do not, he went on to star in its excellent spin-off series, Guardians of the Galaxy, joining the modern-day team of the same name.
Groot has been featured in a variety of associated Marvel merchandise and is set to appear in the 2014 live-action film … er uh … Guardians of the Galaxy!
Groot initially came to Earth, as we said, seeking humans to capture and study. However he was seemingly destroyed by termites used by Leslie Evans.
Xemnu made a duplicate of Groot that was used to fight the Incredible Hulk; however, the Hulk destroyed it.
Through unknown means, Groot was later captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and assigned to their Paranormal Containment Unit, nicknamed the Howling Commandos. (Take that, all you war hero buffs!)
Groot played a big part in Conquest, seemingly dying to buy his team time to escape the battle. However, he survived as a sprig offshoot. In time, he regenerated his body from the twig, growing back to full size, and participated in an assault on the Babel Spire.
When the original plan of laying explosives in the Spire failed, Groot was forced to sprout inside the Spire, growing to colossal size and filling a large portion of the building. Mantis was able to remix his sap in a way as to make it extremely flammable, and again Groot sacrificed his life for his friends, igniting himself, the resulting fire destroying the Babel Spire.
A cutting of Groot was kept by Rocket Raccoon, though, and he was able to regrow. He then joined the new Guardians (or as Groot would have it, “Groot and Branches”), and began regrowing under the care of Mantis (who should be in the coming film, IMHO).
During his time with the Guardians, Groot took part in all of the team's missions, taking on threats like the Badoon, Blastaar, the forces of the Negative Zone, the Shi’ar, the Magus and the still-mysterious Cancerverse.
During the battle with the Badoon, a rising threat in the galaxy, Groot aided the team by destroying a first generation Badoon “Monster,” a giant mechanoid made from the corpses of the Badoon's fallen enemies.
Next, Groot played a pivotal part in War of Kings, a war between the Shi'ar and the Inhuman-led Kree Empire, where at the end Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans, detonated his ultimate weapon -- the Terrigen Bomb. The resulting explosion punched a hole in space/time known as the Fault; a doorway to a universe analogous to our own where there is no death – the Cancerverse.
The first creature to come through was a giant squid that instinctively attacked the Inhuman city of Attilan. Groot came up with the idea for a weapon to use on the creature with the help of sometimes-mad Inhuman prince, Maximus: using highly-advanced quantum science the pair developed a Feedback Loop, which “un-creates” a creature’s reality and re-imposes our own, un-making the creature. (So Groot is more than a tree or a babysitting joke. Are you listening, Mr. Bendis?)
Following this attack, Groot fought the Magus, the Avatar of Life and an agent of the Many-Angled Ones, rulers of the Cancerverse, where he lost his arm in battle. However, Groot was able to grow that back very swiftly. He then accompanied the Guardians to the capital planet of the Universal Church of Truth where he helped protect Moondragon from the attacking U.C.T. followers.
Groot then battled Thanos alongside the Guardians after the Titan woke from death. Groot helped the team infiltrate the Cancerverse, taking on the Revengers, the Cancerverse version of the Avengers. Groot was present during the final battle between Lord Mar-Vell and Thanos.
After apparently disbanding, Groot traveled with Rocket Raccoon. He also briefly applied for the position of nanny for Luke Cage’s child, but Squirrel Girl was chosen instead. (Again, we will not get into his adventures in the Mojoverse. Whew!)
BUT … with Rocket and several other characters, including the thought-dead Peter Quill (Star-Lord) and Drax the Destroyer, Groot and the Guardians returned to aid the Avengers in their battle with an also-surviving Thanos in Avengers Assemble and continue their adventures in their relaunced, Bendis-written magazine. (See Timelord’s review of the latest issue.)
I cannot wait to hear Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot!
The film “Guardians of the Galaxy” opens in theatres August 1st!