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Abandoned Love: Is Groot Really the King of Planet X?

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Every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer without explaining that the previous story was retconned away. Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of Abandoned Love. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, we take a look at Groot’s odd history – is he seriously the king of his planet? Find out!

Groot first showed up in 1960’s Tales to Astonish #13, with art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers and a story by an unknown writer (I bet Larry Leiber)…

Notice how Groot refers to himself as the Monarch of Planet X.

So Groot shows up again decades later in Keith Giffen’s Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos series. Giffen then brings him over to the pages of Annihilation Conquest: Starlord (drawn by Timothy Green III and Victor Olazaba), as one of the members of Starlord’s basically Suicide Squad. He is introduced in #1, as Peter meets the members of his team…

kinggroot1

kinggroot2

The next issue, he is introduced as being royalty…

kinggroot3

Giffen’s shtick with Groot was to have him talk like Doctor Doom style royalty (his transition to “I Am Groot” was explained away later on)…

kinggroot4

Okay, so Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning launch Guardians of the Galaxy out of Annihilation Conquest and Groot is front and center and, in Guardians of the Galaxy #24 (by Abnett and Lanning and artists Wes Craig and Serge Lapointe), we get the following…

kinggroot5

kinggroot6

So, it’s pretty cut and dry, right? Groot is the king of Planet X.

Not so fast, people!

Go to the next page for the truth!

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21 Comments

So why did Groot go from talking like Doctor Doom under Giffen to just saying “I Am Groot!” It’s a cute shtick for a one-off or occasional character, but it gets kind of annoying for a regular castmember, day-in and day out. Once the novelty of it wears off it gets grating (to me at least). I feel his old characterization had far more potential.

presumably because someone thought it was funny.

Fury – I meant what was the reason given in-story for the change, if there was one.

@T

I was going to aswer you but then i remembered that Brian already did a piece about it.

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2016/02/16/abandoned-love-when-did-groot-start-saying-i-am-groot/

Another take on his origin was given in Groot #6 and it was probably one of the most beautiful and moving stories I’d read in a long time. I strongly suggest giving it a read.

Cyborg woodpeckers. Now I’ve seen everything. (Shoots himself.)

Ronconauta – I remember that piece, but to me there still doesn’t seem to be any in-story explanation as to why he lost his vocabulary. That piece just shows WHEN it started happening and when it finally really took hold, but it doesn’t really explain what CAUSED him to lose his previous vocabulary and diction in the first place.

Alaric Shapli

March 9, 2016 at 1:58 pm

So, has it ever been firmly established that the Groot in Tales to Astonish #13 was the same Groot as the one in Guardians?

OMG. Tree-son. I bet DnA did that whole Annihilators story just so they could use that pun. I love it.

Ronconauta – I remember that piece, but to me there still doesn’t seem to be any in-story explanation as to why he lost his vocabulary. That piece just shows WHEN it started happening and when it finally really took hold, but it doesn’t really explain what CAUSED him to lose his previous vocabulary and diction in the first place.

It’s in the piece. Give it a re-read. It was added in later on.

Everyone knows the TRUE Master of Planet X is Kurrgo!

It’s in the piece. Give it a re-read. It was added in later on.

I re-read it with the update. You’re right, I only read the earlier draft. I see the explanation now. Thanks.

Travis Pelkie

March 9, 2016 at 4:48 pm

That was exactly what I was going to comment on, Nick.

Oneminutemonkey

March 9, 2016 at 5:51 pm

I’ve always figured that the repeated destructions/regrowths of Groot affected him on some level, not only rendering him incapable of excess speech, but also altering his very mental state. The Groot we see currently active in Guardians feels much younger and naive than the one we see attacking Earth or acting as part of Quill’s suicide sq-tactical unit.

Just like the way James Robinson theorized that the rebirths of Solomon Grundy caused him to be reborn with a different personality, so too does Groot change as he’s forced to regrow himself over and over. And maybe he lost his royal status as well–maybe you have to achieve a certain age in order to qualify as royalty on his planet, or as a cutting/copy/clone, he’s not considered to be the original. I prefer that idea to the “Oh, he was lying all along” explanation.

FWIW, my Annihilation Classic hardcover credits both Larry Leiber and Stan Lee with writing that first Groot story.

@Mike Blake: Yeah, I was hoping for some sort of reference to the villain from Fantastic Four #7 (and a 1973 Hulk/Thing fight) as well.

I suppose one could argue that the time problems the Guardians were facing led to a change in Groot’s history (and personality).

Has anyone ever explained why when Groot is destroyed and regrown he doesn’t regain his speech abilities again for a while?

That Giffen Starlord mini is fantastic. Art/ dialogue all grade A. Too bad the main event was not that good.

A Horde of Evil Hipsters

March 12, 2016 at 5:33 am

Abnett and Lanning must have come up with that story just so they would have an excuse to use that “accused of tree-son” pun. Or maybe that’s more Peter David’s schtick.

I notice the Starlord 1 quote describes Groot as a “Self-proclaimed Monarch”

Whether the compiler of the data seen is issue 2 or the Galactic Council checked the accuracy (or even if they could identify which planet was the correct Planet X”) is not stated

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