We Finally Understand Groot's Entire Backstory
He's big, he's wooden, and he makes one thing perfectly clear: He is Groot. Marvel's talking tree has taken the world by storm, despite his minimal vocabulary. But few know his story in its entirety. From the alien arborists to the terrifying termites, this is Groot's backstory.
Moviegoing audiences across the galaxy know him as a hero, but believe it or not, Groot began his career on the comic book page as a bad guy. He made his debut in 1960's Tales to Astonish #13, where he was billed as "The Monster From Planet X," and like a lot of the baddies in Marvel's monster comics, he initially meets an ironic end.
When he lands on Earth, Groot encounters a biologist named Leslie Evans, whose study focus is bugs. He might seem outclassed by a giant talking tree and his army of fellow Flora Colossi, but he winds up being humanity's secret weapon. Despite being a seemingly invulnerable giant bent on conquering Earth, Groot is still made of wood, and winds up being laid low by one of the most destructive forces on the planet: termites.
After that, he descended into the same kind of obscurity as a lot of the other monsters with names like Rommbu or Moomba who took up shelf space in Marvel's pre-superhero monster comics. He would reappear occasionally, and encountered the Hulk in 1976 alongside five other Marvel monsters. Groot in particular is defeated when the Hulk beats him to splinters with a couple of rocks, effective, but significantly less clever than termites.
Beyond that, his best known appearance came in an issue of Sensational Spider-Man, when he was the subject of one of Peter Parker's nightmares. That makes sense, too. For a born and bred New Yorker who needs skyscrapers to swing from, what would be scarier than a big ol' tree?
Groot has had a few diversions on his journey from monstrous antagonist to heroic moviestar. As you might expect, it's a gnarled, branching backstory with its roots in some pretty weird comics.
You might be surprised to learn that he was actually once an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., as revealed in the pages of 2006's Nick Fury's Howling Commandos. In this story, the Howling Commandos are a group of monstrous villains conscripted by Fury to fight their fellow forces of evil. Fury uses his recruitment pitch on a version of Groot that still has his pre-Guardians evil tendencies and convinces him to join his elite team of cryptids, myths, and monsters. His compatriots include Bigfoot, Frankenstein, a vampire, a werewolf, and a man trapped in a Gorilla's body, among others. Together, they team up with the Son of Satan and save Earth from an attack by Merlin, the wizard from Camelot. Now that's a story we'd like to see make its way to the MCU. Keep watching the video because we finally understand Groot's entire backstory.
The monster from Planet X | 0:00
A tree without roots | 1:38
Kree | 2:59
The All-New Groot | 3:48
Intergalactic BFFs | 4:49
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