In the new Golden Age of comics, there are an ocean of intriguing plots from multiple publishers, killer creative teams, and innovative use of IP. How in the world can anyone stand out and automatically ensnare not just existing fan bases, but new readers as well?
Rick and Morty. Dungeons & Dragons. Jim Zub. Patrick “Mawbleepin’” Rothfuss.
This fever-dream of a book splays out the best of every ingredient, from honest reactions from the titular duo to the snappy storytelling to mind-bending sci-fi. Where’s the best place to start?
Using the D&D intellectual property from Wizards of the Coast is genius, and this comic serves up heaps of inside-baseball terminology. The opening scene in the school bus, where Morty overhears the campaign recollections of a nearby group, doesn’t shy away from thoroughly explaining what happened while playing, nor does the book itself shy away from going too deep. There is a love for this game that is 100% evident on every page.
It also portrays the story in a way that is Rick and Morty at its best: Rick tries to convince Morty in the power of a choice he has to make, and he’ll go to whatever means necessary to try and persuade his grandson. Rick is abrasive and standoffish, and he beams with pride when Morty shows an interest in something he holds dear. Morty, of course, absolutely would think that he could score some hot babes by playing a table-top RPG, especially at the behest of a gaming store vixen. Their interplay is rapid-fire and entertaining just like the best of the show.
And it’s fucking hilarious. This book isn’t afraid to poke fun at the entire table-top RPG scene, with its killer look at other games (Sorry Kevin and Games Workshop…) and its own feelings towards how it views simple facets like class choice.
Artist Troy Little deserves so much credit for being able to pull all of these nods and references off, as well as making this book feel like an insane amalgam of two of the most popular pieces of the pop cultural landscape. His attention to detail in the aspects of the game are lovely, as is his scene in the garage with Rick and his group. There’s so much to love from Little’s work in just this first issue alone that it requires a second (and third, and fourth…) read just to make sure you caught all the Easter eggs in the panels.
And we have to mention the powerhouse writer pairing that make this book as unabashedly joyful as possible, Jim Zub and Patrick Rothfuss.
These two creators have an obvious love of the game, with the first book focusing on the first and second editions of D&D. The dialogue is hysterical and the scene transitions are beyond smooth. Everything hits in this book, and you have to applaud the efforts of these writers to craft a story that feels so much like the show and yet so much like real life (in terms of new and old players).
This was such a damn fun ride that paid off in nearly every panel: D&D fans will love the vernacular, Rick and Morty fans will love the haphazard adventuring, fans of Zub will get the slick storytelling, and fans of Rothfuss will get electric interplay between characters. I can’t fathom how this book can continue it’s frenetic pace, but there’s too much quality involved to fail.
I can't wait to see what this book has to say about 4th edition...