Groot
Groot on the cover of I Am Groot #1.
Art by Flaviano Armentaro.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceTales to Astonish #13
(November 1960)
Created byStan Lee
Larry Lieber
Jack Kirby
In-story information
SpeciesFlora colossus
Team affiliationsGuardians of the Galaxy
S.H.I.E.L.D. Paranormal Containment Unit
Nova Corps
PartnershipsRocket Raccoon
Notable aliasesMonarch of Planet X
Seed of Slaughter
Tree
Abilities

Groot (/ɡrt/) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Tales to Astonish #13 (November 1960). An extraterrestrial, sentient tree-like creature, the original Groot first appeared as an invader that intended to capture humans for experimentation. The character can only say the repeated line "I am Groot", but has different meanings depending on context. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star-Lord, Thor, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora and Drax the Destroyer are able to understand him.

The character was reintroduced as a heroic, noble being in 2006, and appeared in the crossover comic book storyline "Annihilation: Conquest." Groot went on to star in its spin-off series, Guardians of the Galaxy, joining the team of the same name.

Groot has been featured in a variety of associated Marvel media, including animated television series, toys and trading cards. Vin Diesel voices Groot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe starting in the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy, with Krystian Godlewski playing the initial incarnation of the character via performance capture and James Gunn doing so for his reborn offspring, colloquially known as "Baby Groot". Diesel reprised the role in the MCU films Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) as well as the short form series I Am Groot and a cameo in the Disney animated film Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018).

Publication history

Groot's first appearance in Tales to Astonish #13

Groot first appeared in Tales to Astonish #13 (Nov. 1960), and was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby.[1] He appeared again in The Incredible Hulk vol. 2 Annual #5 (Oct. 1976), alongside five other monsters from Marvel's anthology horror comics of the late 1950s and early 1960s. In The Sensational Spider-Man #−1 (July 1997), Groot was featured in a nightmare of the young Peter Parker.

Groot reappeared in 2006 in the six-issue limited series Nick Fury's Howling Commandos, and appeared in the Annihilation: Conquest and Annihilation: Conquest – Star-Lord limited series. Groot went on to join the Guardians of the Galaxy in the series of the same name and remained a fixture of the title until its cancellation with issue #25 in 2010. Groot appeared in its follow-up, the limited series The Thanos Imperative, and, alongside fellow Guardian Rocket Raccoon, Groot starred in backup features in Annihilators #1–4 (March–June 2011) and Annihilators: Earthfall #1–4 (Sept.–Dec. 2011).

Groot appeared in issues #6–8 of Avengers Assemble as a member of the Guardians. Groot is one of the stars of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, a part of the Marvel NOW! relaunch.[2]

In March 2015, it was announced that Groot would be getting his very first solo series by writer Jeff Loveness and artist Brian Kesinger.[3]

The Groot that debuted in Tales to Astonish and the one that was introduced in Annihilation: Conquest were retroactively established as being separate members of the same species in the sixth and final issue of the Groot ongoing series that launched in June 2015.[4] With Infinity Wars in August 2018, however, Groot specifically references the fact that during his first visit to the planet Earth, he had promised to "march across the surface of the planet and doom all who dared to oppose Groot."[5] This seemingly reverted the character's origins to having both eras of Groot referencing the same persona, therefore invalidating the retroactive change from issue six of the Groot series.

Origins

Groot is a Flora colossus from Planet X, the capital of the branch worlds. The Flora colossi are tree-like beings whose language is almost impossible to understand due to the stiffness of their larynxes, causing their speech to sound like they are repeating the phrase "I am Groot". Other beings try to be friendly but become angry with the Flora colossi for their apparent inability to speak, though Groot was shown to have been actually speaking not just understandably but eloquently in his language throughout Annihilation: Conquest. The Flora colossi are ruled over by the "Arbor Masters" and teach the children of the species with "Photonic Knowledge", which is the collected knowledge of the Arbor Masters of the generations and is absorbed through photosynthesis; this is a highly advanced education method, making the Flora colossi geniuses.

The Flora colossus sapling that would come to be known as "Groot" came from an "Ennobled Sap-line" and was gifted with a tremendous grasp of quasi-dimensional super-positional engineering. Groot did not get along with fellow saplings but instead preferred the company of the "Maintenance Mammals", against which the other saplings discriminated. Groot was exiled by the "Arbor Masters" in Guardians of the Galaxy #14[6] after killing another sapling to defend a maintenance mammal it was brutalizing.

An alternate origin was presented in the Groot ongoing series. In the story, it is revealed that the other Flora colossi had been abducting organisms from other planets, including a young human girl named Hannah. After seeing Hannah, Groot realized that what his people were doing was wrong and managed to save the child and send her back to Earth. However, for his disobedience, Groot was exiled from Planet X and forced to wander the universe until he met Rocket Raccoon many decades later, where this version of Groot later became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.[4]

Fictional character biography

Original Groot

Groot is an extraterrestrial tree monster who initially came to Earth seeking humans to capture and study. Groot was seemingly destroyed by termites used by Leslie Evans.[7]

Xemnu made a duplicate of Groot by making a human and tree hybrid that was used to fight the Hulk, but it was destroyed in the battle.[8]

Groot was later revealed to have survived, but was a captive of the Collector and held in his zoo in Canada until Groot and the other captive creatures were freed by the Mole Man. Groot and the other creatures rampaged in New York City until they were stopped by a band of superheroes, and were then dumped through a portal to the Negative Zone.[9]

Groot was later tracked down and captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Paranormal Containment Unit, nicknamed the Howling Commandos, when his tree scent was detected by Sasquatch and Abominable Snowman.[10] While Groot was being held captive, Gorilla-Man talked to Groot about joining the Howling Commandos.[11] When Merlin and his forces attacked the base, the Howling Commandos let Groot and their other captives free, who proceeded to stampede on Merlin's army; Groot was the only one to turn back, offering to join the Howling Commandos.[12] Groot aided the Howling Commandos as they assaulted Merlin's forces.[13]

Guardians of the Galaxy's Groot

Cosplay of Groot and Rocket Raccoon

A different Groot played a part in Annihilation: Conquest, at which time it was shown Groot may be the last remaining member of the Flora colossi and was under arrest by the Kree for an unknown reason. Groot earned freedom by joining Star-Lord's strike force, where Groot and Rocket Raccoon formed a bond, Rocket being one of the few beings with the ability to understand Groot's language.[14] Star-Lord's team fought their way through the Phalanx, but after the death of Deathcry the team decided to escape through a drainage pipe that Groot could not fit into.

As a consequence of the battle, Groot dies, buying the team some time to escape.[15] A new Groot was created as a sprig offshoot and went on to accompany the team on their continued mission against the Phalanx, but was one of the team members captured by the Phalanx.[16] Groot and the others were freed by Mantis, and escaped back to the lines of the Kree's resistance. In time, Groot's body regenerated from the twig, growing back to full size. Groot and the others intended to carry on as part of Star-Lord's team.[17]

Groot and the team returned to Hala to prepare another assault against the Phalanx, but their agent Blastaar was captured by the Phalanx and taken to their Babel Spire as he tried to carry Groot's pollen spores.[18] Groot and Rocket Raccoon continued their mission by sneaking into the sub-basement of the Babel Spire.[19] When Star-Lord was captured by Ultron, the original plan of laying explosives in the Spire failed, so Rocket Raccoon and Groot needed to come up with a new plan.[20] Groot decided to sprout inside the Spire, growing to colossal size and filling a large portion of the building.

Mantis was able to remix Groot's sap in a way as to make it extremely flammable, and again Groot died for the team, this time by purposefully igniting so the resulting fire would destroy the Babel Spire.[21] A cutting of Groot was kept by Rocket Raccoon, though, and Groot was again able to regrow.[22] Groot then joined the new Guardians of the Galaxy (or, as Groot would have it, "Groot and Branches"), and began regrowing under the care of Mantis.[23][24]

When the Guardians reformed, Groot joined with Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer and Gamora, whom Groot counted as friends.[25]

During the 2015 Secret Wars storyline, Groot is with the Guardians of the Galaxy when they take part in the incursion between Earth-616 and Earth-1610. Groot and Rocket Raccoon are killed by the Children of Tomorrow.[26] However, when Peter Quill — one of the few survivors of the incursions from Earth-616 — finds himself confronted by Black Swan in the castle of Emperor Doom, he reveals that he has been carrying a small twig of Groot in his pocket ever since the incursion, slamming it into the roots of the World Tree and causing Groot to transform the giant tree into his body, decimating Doom's castle as the surviving heroes mount their final assault.[27]

During the "Civil War II" storyline, Groot and the Guardians of the Galaxy are summoned by Captain Marvel to help her in her fight against Iron Man's side when it came to the fate of the Inhuman Ulysses Cain. The resulting battle damaged the Guardians of the Galaxy's ship stranding them on Earth.[28]

During the "Monsters Unleashed" storyline, the Guardians of the Galaxy defend Groot from a snake-headed Leviathon.[29]

During the "Secret Empire" storyline, Groot and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy assist Captain Marvel, the Alpha Flight Space Program, members of the Ultimates, Hyperion, and Quasar in intercepting a fleet of Chitauri that are approaching Earth until a Hydra-aligned Steve Rogers activated the Planetary Defense Shield trapping those fighting the Chitauri outside of Earth's atmosphere.[30] Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot try to enlist representatives of the Skrulls, Kree, Brood, Shi'ar and Spartax empires that are on the Galactic Council in helping against the Chitauri hordes and to break down the Planetary Defense Shield and get rid of Hydra. Realizing they are now facing a galaxy without human interference, the Galactic Council refuses aid and attempt to kill the three Guardians as they flee.[31] After the Planetary Defense Shield is shut down, Groot and the Guardians of the Galaxy join the final battle against Hydra.[32]

Rocket Raccoon and Groot are on their way to the Stohlad Ring when they are ambushed by Gardener where he shattered Groot because the Guardians of the Galaxy "corrupted" him and diverted him from his true purpose. Rocket Raccoon escaped with a splinter where Groot grew a new body from it.[33]

During the "Infinity Countdown" storyline, Groot was with the Guardians of the Galaxy when they notice that the planet Telferina is under attack by the Flora colossi that Gardener grew from Groot's splinters. Groot got close to Gardener and used his healing powers to purge the poison that Loki put in him from his body. Gardener repaid Groot by using his abilities to restore Groot back to his previous size. In addition, Groot can now speak in full sentences and refers to himself in the third person.[34]

Characterization

Powers and abilities

Groot can absorb wood as food, and has the ability to regenerate.[35] Groot can control trees and plants, using them to attack others, and appears to be resistant to fire. Groot is able to sprout dramatically increasing mass which then severely inhibits movement.[volume & issue needed]

Groot has been seemingly killed on multiple occasions, each time regrowing from a sprig.[volume & issue needed]

"I am Groot"

Black Bolt's brother Maximus the Mad asserted that whenever Groot is saying the trademark "I am Groot!" he has actually been saying a number of things, and his varying inflections of the sentence are the equivalent of words and sentences. People who have interacted with Groot are gradually able to decipher the meaning of the inflections and can carry on full conversations with Groot as time goes on.

The meaning of the word 'Groot' comes from the Dutch word 'groot' and translates as 'Tall'. The mature form of Groot's species is robust and heavyweight, which causes the organs of acoustic generation to become stiff and inflexible. It is this nature of Groot's larynx that causes people, who are oblivious to the subtle nuances of Flora colossi speech, to misinterpret Groot as merely repeating his name. It could not be determined whether Maximus' claim was true or merely another manifestation of his madness, though Groot genuinely did seem to be assisting Maximus with highly advanced engineering.[36] Later, in All-New X-Men #23, Jean Grey telepathically links with Groot, showing that Groot's thought processes are indeed complex, and the declaration of "I am Groot!" usually represents attempts at highly intelligent communication.[37]

Cultural impact and legacy

A statue of Groot in Peru[38]

Accolades

Impact

Mike Fenn of The Daily Dot asserted, "The success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest entry, Guardians of the Galaxy, has resulted in the spread of the Internet’s latest meme: I Am Groot."[45] C. M Crockford of Looper wrote, "Groot quickly became an Internet meme thanks to his simple vocabulary and pleasant nature, with his catchphrase "I am Groot" spreading into popular culture."[46]

Literary reception

Volumes

Groot - 2015

According to Diamond Comic Distributors, Groot #1 was the 10th best selling comic book in June 2015.[47][48][49]

Rocket Raccoon and Groot - 2016

According to Diamond Comic Distributors, Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1 was the 15th best-selling comic book in January 2016.[50][51][52]

Jesse Schedeen of IGN gave Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1 a grade of 7.8 out of 10, writing, "This new series may not feel terribly "all-new" or "all-different," but it features a proven creative team exploring the continued misadventures of Rocket and Groot. It's tough to go wrong with that. Unlike some Guardians comics, this series quickly finds its niche and promises interesting wrinkles to come for both characters."[53]

I Am Groot - 2017

According to Diamond Comic Distributors, I Am Groot #1was the 71st best-selling comic book in May 2017.[54][55][56]

Alexander Jones of Comics Beat called I Am Groot #1 a "charming, colorful tale," saying, "Thankfully, I Am Groot is the beginning of something good. All the pieces are there story-wise, art-wise, and character-wise. Now the task is the new journey we’re taking with some ink and paper friends. Fans of the movies and fans of the original comics will find much to appreciate with this issue. Time to blast up the jams on your old cassette tape deck and enjoy with a smile."[57] Baltimore Lauren of Bleeding Cool asserted, "Hastings delivers a strong narrative with the small tree creature-slash-assassin. Despite only speaking three words, he does inflect great emotion through Groot. Flaviano's art adds to it, as Groot is given a visible range of emotion to help the reader understand what he's saying. His overtly cartoony Groot stands out wonderfully well against the much more realistic Guardians (even Rocket), drawing the reader's eye to Groot in every panel he's in. This is a great trick, as it does show that Groot is the central focus. At the climax of the book, the art gets downright weird, but it's beautiful. The planet Terminal is presented as an eerie alternate world, with vibrant colors (thanks to Menyz). The colors are stunning throughout the whole book — he uses them well to set up the overall feel of each page. I honestly can't pick a favorite panel, since this whole book is beautiful to look at."[58]

In other media

Television

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Main article: Groot (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

Two distinct incarnations of Groot appear in media set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), both voiced by Vin Diesel, who also provided voice work for a number of languages the movie was released in and some motion capture elements for the character.[68][69][70]

Film

Baby Groot appears in Ralph Breaks the Internet, voiced again by Vin Diesel.[71]

Video games

Merchandise

Miscellaneous

Collected editions

Title Material Collected Publication Date ISBN
Rocket Raccoon & Groot: The Complete Collection Rocket Raccoon (vol. 1) #1–4, The Incredible Hulk #271 and material from Tales to Astonish (vol. 1) #13, Marvel Preview #7, Annihilators #1–4, Annihilators: Earthfall #1–4 April 10, 2013 978-0785167136
Groot Groot #1-6 January 27, 2016 978-0785195528
Rocket Raccoon & Groot Vol. 0: Bite and Bark Rocket Raccoon (vol. 2) #1-11, Groot #1-6, and material from Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers #1 September 21, 2016 978-1302902186
Rocket Raccoon & Groot Vol. 1: Tricks of the Trade Rocket Raccoon & Groot #1-6 July 20, 2016 978-0785199731
Rocket Raccoon & Groot Vol. 2: Civil War II Rocket Raccoon & Groot #7-10 November 9, 2016 978-0785199748
Rocket Raccoon and Groot: Tall Tails Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1-10 March 11, 2020 978-1302921156
I Am Groot I Am Groot #1-5 December 5, 2017 978-1302908546

See also

References

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