In Review: Rick and Morty #21

This matches the look and tone of the series, so it's a fan's dream come true.

The covers: Jerry has gotten himself in trouble once again, as a giant creature’s head is coming through a portal with its tongue wrapped around the hapless human. Morty is trying to pull the tongue off his father, while Rick calmly pulls a gun out of his jacket. This is a good cover that shows each character’s personality and their relationship to each other. I wish CJ Cannon had pulled in tighter to the characters; the top third of the image is wasted on the wall and ceiling. Granted, the title is there, but the characters could have been much closer to the reader. The Variant cover is by Daria Pekhletski and shows Rick leaping through two portals to retrieve his portal gun. The layout is great, the character looks good, the colors sharp (I really like the dark space between settings), and the focus on his gun at the top of the illustration. This cover also shows the concept of dimension jumping. I liked the Variant the best. Overall grades: Regular B+ and Variant A

The stories: The first story is by Kyle Starks and has no title. It’s a fun story because it starts with Morty having a problem in school and quickly evolves into it all being Jerry’s fault. Several flashbacks are shown demonstrating why he is to blame, with the second example on Page 4 being my favorite. Feeling down — and when isn’t he? — Jerry uses the portal gun to go to a location that was shown in an episode of the television series. Once there, he instantly receives the moral support he craves. Unbeknownst to him, he’s being observed by a new character who is going to make his life in that dimension hell. This new character is wonderfully evil and captures that uneasy feeling that the television series often has. This character does some interesting things that start on 13 and and the reactions of others to him are hilarious. The confrontation on the final three pages starts funny and turns serious, equaled only by the Season Two finale. Starks has written an excellent story that’s funny and creepy. “Beth and Summer” is a four page short by Marc Ellerby and puts a spotlight on the two female leads of the series who decide to assist an alien since Rick’s not around. It’s painfully funny, with both characters getting everything wrong. The ending had me laugh out loud. Overall grade: A

The art: The artist on the first story is CJ Cannon and he continually shows he’s the correct artist for this book. The characters resemble the visuals off the television show, which is what fans would want, and he captures the personalities with just one image, such as Rick atop Page 3, Jerry’s constant worry throughout, and Beth’s many emotional states. I would like to see some drool coming out of Rick’s mouth, as he’s fairly dry in this story, but that’s a minor nit. Even more impressive is the amount of work done with the backgrounds. It’s rare for there to be an empty background in any panel and Cannon renders all the locations with the right amount of detail, that, again, matches the level of the show. I really smiled at the character that first appears in the second panel on 5 and the text free Page 6 perfectly captures the characters’ joys. The villain of the story is nicely hidden until the big reveal on 9 and it’s the equal of any of horrific antagonist. The last page of the story is a full paged splash and its dramatic nature deserves such a large image and it is terrific. Marc Ellerby illustrates his four page story and it’s worth checking out just for the reactions from Beth and Summer. The aliens also look great and their responses to what’s occurring are really funny. The last panel nicely ended the story on a humorous tone, given the dark ending. I would welcome Ellerby back any time to this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: Both stories have really bright colors and they show Katy Farina knows what she’s doing. The interiors of the Smith household allow the bright colors the characters are wearing to stand out; the first page shows this well. There’s a really slick coloring effect done in the last panel on Page 3 that shows Farina differentiating the colors of character that’s outside a closed window. The villain’s lair and his first appearance does a strong job with shadows, hinting at this character’s identity until revealed. The penultimate page has some extremely colorful backgrounds when punches are thrown that make the action much stronger. The four page back-up tale employs even brighter colors and they heighten the alien-ness of the story. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Crank! is the letterer, providing dialogue, sounds, and yells. There aren’t many times sounds are needed, but I wish there had been one on 12 and several on 17, but that wasn’t his call to make. Still, I wish there had been some. Better is the second story, whose second panel has two fun ones that perfectly match the action. Overall grade: A-

The final line: A Jerry-centric tale that’s good with the laughs and the thrills. This matches the look and tone of the series, so it’s a fan’s dream come true. Overall grade: A 

To purchase a hard copy of this book go to http://oni-press.myshopify.com/collections/new-releases/products/rick-and-morty-21

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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