Review: Groo - Friends & Foes #1

I’ve always been a fan of a good spoof.  This is my first time reading a Groo related-adventure, and it’s clear that the story’s charm and wit still shine through even over 30 years since Groo’s first appearance. Over the course of this series, Groo will face friends and he will face foes.  Since he has the IQ of a vegetable, he can’t distinguish whether the people he comes in contact with are friends or not.  The only friend he really has is Rufferto, his trusty canine sidekick.  In this issue, as you can tell by the title, Groo has an encounter with Captain Ahax.  Groo wants to go to a place where he can be among friends… or at least foes that don’t completely hate him.  There’s only one problem to Groo-there’s “an ocean in the way.”  To get to where he wants to go, Groo is going to have to sail.  Groo walks to the docks where he runs into none other than Captain Ahax, someone who has clearly seen the ways of Groo many many times.

Groo---Friends-and-Foes-#1-21-15Ahax is very wary and becomes emotionally distressed when he sees Groo walking towards his boat.  This anxiousness is justified, as every boat that Groo has stepped on in Ahax’s possession has sunk.  All of Ahax’s crew are quick to jump overboard and abandon their captain at the site of Groo.  Ahax is even more concerned now that Groo is here and thinks that Ahax is a friend.  Ahax needs to deliver this boat to merchants who have purchased priceless goods that are cargo on the ship.  However, unlike Groo, Ahax is quick on his feet.  He ends up insuring the boat, selling all the cargo, and even selling the ship.  He now wants Groo to destroy the boat since in his mind it’s inevitable.  He will explain to the merchants that the cargo was lost and he claims it’ll be buyer’s woe since the boat will sink after it’s already paid for.  He also assembles a new crew and falsely offers the men ridiculous wages including three times the rum they can drink in order to be part of his crew with Groo.  Once they set sail though, Groo can’t take the hint, and things might not go according to plan like the captain thought.

I really had a good time reading this book.  For all the horror and bleak stuff I normally read, I need more books like this to just breeze through and enjoy.  Groo is an idiot, but a loveable one-it’s a clear spoof of books like Conan and Red Sonja.  But it’s not a caustic parody, it’s very playful and innocent.  Humor is really hit-or-miss for me in comics since you don’t have the delivery of someone verbalizing the jokes, but Groo does a great job of being witty.  Whether it was Rufferto’s snarky thoughts or the sheer terror Groo brings to everyone around him without him knowing (just look at the cover to see what I mean), I found myself laughing a few times throughout this debut issue.  The writing and dialogue is great and the art fits the tone of the story as well.  It’s very cartoony and looks like what you’d find in newspaper comics strips.  Witty, charming, and adventurous, this is a comic any fan should be checking out.  I’m looking forward to next month’s escapades with Groo.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Mark Evanier Artist: Sergio Aragones Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/21/15 Format: Print/Digital, Ongoing