Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Zac Gorman
Artist: CJ Cannon and Marc Ellerby with Ryan Hill
Release Date: 22nd July, 2015
[WARNING: REVIEWS CONTAINS SPOILERS]
Having noticed that I had missed issues 2 and 3 of the Rick and Morty series, I thought I should get back into it with issue #4. I was pleased to find the quality of writing by Zac Gorman hasn’t diminished and the artwork by CJ Cannon has actually improved with no visible difference to the TV series.
The story picks up with Rick ushering Morty to his plantation in an alternate dimension. There had been a war and Rick set up the plantation to “help” the local population. He has Morty enter the plantation as a spy because of a rising rebellion in the camp. The locals instantly take a shine to Morty and he is shown the resistance’s weapon store and the reason they are going to fight. It turns out the Rick was the one how started the war so he could profit from the aftermath.
As Morty is about to leave the dimension in disgust at Rick the revolution begins and Rick is assassinated. Rick and Morty say their goodbyes and Morty sits there cradling his body. It is at this moment that the real Rick appears and says that the dead version is a Clonerbeast and they should get out of here as he once started a war here.
The story was great with the first, obvious, twist of Rick starting the war turning out to be a great red herring. The second twist that the Clonerbeast is still active genuinely surprised me, given that in issue 3 it was implied that Rick had stopped the invasion before it could begin. I’m looking forward to seeing how they will deal with the invasion back home. Last time this sort of thing happened they just kinda left that world behind and started fresh in a new dimension after killing their alternate selves.
This ongoing series is a great continuation of the TV series while we wait for more new episodes (season 2 starts this month!).
We seem to be going through a period where comic adaptation of TV and film properties such as Ghostbusters, Star Trek and Doctor Who are all hitting the mark in balancing the expectations of fans and delivering new content. This Rick and Morty series is right up there with them and should be considered an absolute must for any fan.
Rick and Morty are back! And yet again, we find Morty dragged away from his normal life to sort out some intergalactic mess that Rick has caused. This time he’s sent undercover to squelch an uprising at Rick’s plantation for troubled alien youngsters. The old-timey setting and Rick’s Colonel Sanders regalia suggests that this enterprise might be less than philanthropic and this issue makes a few choice digs at the evils of western capitalism. This harkens back to the first issue, with Rick being a near perfect poster-boy for the deeply amoral free market… Or that could be just be me reading too much into things.
Much like the first few issues, #4 preserves many of the core aspects of the show that make it so great. The dialogue continues to be authentic to the characters with Rick’s voice coming through particularly strongly. I also particularly love the way that both the comic and the show gleefully retcon the untidy consequences of Rick and Morty’s shenanigans but generally at a horrifying and bloody cost. It’s such a brilliant twist on the sitcom trope of jettisoning any untidy loose ends and works best when it’s pushed to dark extremes.
My only quibbles would be that the pace lags a bit when Rick and Morty are separated, although Bug Butler makes a pretty great temporary sidekick for Rick. So far, I’d been unconvinced about the short interludes with secondary characters, but this week’s short insight into Jerry’s fantastically awful life was perhaps one of my favourites as tone-wise it rings perfectly bleak and funny.
In the first few issues I’d been troubled by the flatness of some of the backgrounds, which work well in the sitcom-esque scenes with the rest of the family but don’t quite communicate the depth of the alien environments and can at times leave things a little two dimensional. However, the Ryan Hill’s colouring was really lovely in this issue, with the sunset tones in the final few pages really heightening the emotion of the scene, making it all the funnier when things are completely undermined by an inevitable twist.
Although there are certainly some kinks to be worked out there’s enough laughs to make this series worth the read, even for those that aren’t just hungry for some additional Rick and Morty goodness and I’m excited to see the comic grow into an independent entity in its own right. It’s definitely a series I’ll be keeping up with, and not just because I need my fix between seasons. In the words of Rick, ‘Rick and Morty… Forever and ever… A hundred years…’
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