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RICK AND MORTY #1 Review: Playing The (Intergalactic) Stock Market

Converting an animated show into comic format is a risky game. Much of the joy of a good series comes from the voices of the characters, and while you can mimic dialogue on paper, it’s hard to get across the essence of the character’s voice when transmuting it from a voice actor shouting in a booth to black words in white bubbles.

Rick and Morty #1 somehow manages this translation with aplomb, due in no small part to the speech quirks of Rick Sanchez, Morty’s ethically dubious and morally bankrupt grandfather who is a mad scientist, probably an alcoholic, and boasts the ability to conjure ridiculous, universe destroying MacGuffins at the rate most of us pass gas.

Rick and Morty was created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon (the latter of Community fame) and the animated series is suitably graphic, offensive and risque, befitting it’s 10.30pm time slot and sitting comfortably with other Adult Swim alumni. The show has been renewed for a second season and has generally met with wide acclaim for being off beat and

Rick frequently vomits in his mouth, stutters, stammers, burps, and swigs from a hip flask in the animated series and these habits carry over into the comic, with his speech regularly interrupted by repeated words, -urrps- and expletives. The comic is very much for fans of the show, as without the character’s voice in your head as a reference, these speech quirks seem fairly nonsensical. Being fans of the show, we can’t speak to the experience that a newcomer might have with the comic, but arguably a newcomer wouldn’t even pluck the first issue off a shelf without some sort of prior knowledge.

Story

The comic follows the same structure of the television show, if you could call Rick and Morty’s central stories structured in any way. Morty’s dad has told him that he needs to get a job, and rather than set up a lemonade stand or get a paper route, Rick decides to use a time travelling device to manipulate the Intergalactic Stock Market. It’s a typical set up that you’d see in the show and it’s echoed to perfection in the comic.

What’s interesting is that each episode of Rick and Morty was a self-contained story with no long-term repercussions for the inner narratives of the characters, whereas Issue 1 ends with a cliffhanger of sorts, implying that stories may continue across multiple issues and that there might even be story arcs of sort. While we doubt we’ll see any sort of extended, in-depth stories with recurring characters and permanent in-universe effects (after all, with time travel and alternative universe devices abound, nothing need be permanent) it’s interesting to think that there might be more room for secondary characters to appear beyond one shot episodes.

Art

The art style emulates the show almost identically, meaning that series fans will feel instantly at home with the characters. There’s also an extensive range of exclusive variant covers for certain events and outlets, including stellar work by Zac Gorman (writer),  CJ Cannon (illustrator) and Ryan Hill (colorist) and a number of guest artists too.

The art of the animated series is fairly basic and it makes for a comfortable transition to the page, though it does mean that it lacks the visual panache of other comics. That being said, the fantastical locations that Rick and Morty episodes often visit are emulated in the comic and a range of fantastical aliens milling through the Intergalactic Stock Exchange contrast nicely with the mundane nature of Morty’s family home.

There’s a noticeable contrast between the art itself and the text bubbles, with the bubbles being crystal clear and the art itself appearing slightly muddled at times. This might have just been on the preview version we received, but it could also be the style of the art, as it seems to be emulating the television show in its art style as well. Still, it’s hard not to feel like the colours and lines could have been a little sharper.

Overall

Rick and Morty #1 is a solid start with an excellent main story and an interesting side story in Summer Spectacular #1, which stars Morty’s sister Summer as some sort of secret agent in the not so distant future nursing an array of scars, some of them gained by less mundane means that her dramatic entrance suggests. It’s hard to tell how it’ll tie in with the main story set out in Rick and Morty #1 or if it’s even related at all, but it sure is funny.

The same goes for the rest of the issue, there are a few laugh out loud moments that perfectly match the tone of the series, and every few panels have a line or a visual joke that’ll put a smile on your face. If nothing else, Rick and Morty #1 clearly set out to emulate the winning formula of the animated series and on that front, they ticked nearly every single box. A solid start to a hilarious new series that fans of Adventure Time and Bravest Warrior will love, even with the considerably more adult tone.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

 

Cover image via

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Categories: Comic Reviews

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  1. TL;DR Review: RICK AND MORTY #1 | Another Castle - 04/01/2015

    […] Read the full review here. […]

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