In Review: Rick and Morty #23

Doofus Jerry is one of Rick and Morty's greatest villains and his saga must be read to be believed.

The covers: A pair of covers highlight both stories to be found within this issue. The Regular cover is by CJ Cannon and has a giant robotic Rick flying away from the Citadel of Ricks. This scene is indeed found in this issue, but it’s much better illustrated inside. The RoboRick looks fine, but the background is so minimal that the size of the robot is hurt. Within the citadel are some shapes, but nothing definitive to show that it’s the citadel. Also the background is just an amalgamation of random swirls that leaves the reader wondering what’s being looked at. This was a disappointing cover. The Variant cover is by Sam King and it’s an incredibly stylized version of Summer defending her brother and grandpa from some sinister shapes. I use the word shapes because the coloring is so dark on everything, save the three humans, that it’s extremely difficult to make out what it is she’s unloading her gun upon. I’m not thrilled by the look of the cast members and I want to see more clearly what’s attacking them. This is a rare double misfire on this series’ covers. Overall grades: Regular D+ and Variant D-

The stories: The undeniably edgy Doofus Jerry story by Kyle Starks concludes in this issue and it’s a showstopper! Doofus Jerry has taken control of the Council of Ricks and he’s using them so that he can control all of interdimensional space. He surrounds himself with several versions of Beth, but none of them are the Beth he craves, the one he encountered on the world that he first traveled to, the one where Rick and Morty are trying to come with a way to stop him. To keep himself invisible from Jerry and the other Ricks, the title character has captured three Mortys from other dimensions and equipped them with shock collars…and provided some impetus for them to keep electrifying themselves in incredibly funny way. Morty asks his grandpa if he thinks his dad is okay, but the answer he gets is not what he wanted to hear: “I’m going to shoot straight with you, Morty. I don’t think Doofus Jerry is the type to keep witnesses.” This angers Beth, but Rick says he’s trying to keep the kids “emotionally comfortable with the idea of Jerry’s death.” This is followed by a really funny action by Summer. Meanwhile, in the Doofus dimension, Doofus Rick comes up with a way for Jerry to get back to his family, but there are several side trips and they are all funny. The battle between Rick and Doofus Jerry is fantastic; it had me wondering why the television series never considered such a fight. The way the conflict is resolved is outstanding, making me yell in joy. The final lines by Rick and his actions were perfection. This was an epic conclusion. The book ends with the four paged story “Summer Job” by Marc Ellerby, which has Summer getting a job in a clothing store. After one day of work, she’s beat and can’t imagine how she can possibly clean up and fold all the clothes. She gets an idea and faster than you can say “Mr. Meeseeks” she has a solution. Naturally, her plans go awry. This was funny, with the ending being sensational. Overall grades: Both A

The art: CJ Cannon does a great job close out the Doofus Jerry saga. The first page has him setting out things incredibly, starting with an establishment shot of the Citadel of Ricks, then two Ricks addressing Doofus Jerry (with the tease of a Beth), then half of DJ’s face, followed by a large panel that shows him emperor-like in a large chair surrounded by five of the alternate dimension Beths. The second page has Cannon moving the point of view around extremely well, creating tension with Doofus Jerry’s response to a Rick and the need for the real Beth. The first shot on the Earth fans are familiar with has one of the Mortys receiving a jolt of electricity. The character’s face is great and this is followed by a panel with the other two Mortys looking like wretches. Morty’s disdain for what his grandfather is doing is cool, but it’s Summer’s appearance at the bottom of Page 4 that’s hysterical. Doofus Rick and Jerry’s adventures (…and if that’s not the title for a spin-off series, I don’t know what is) are sensational, and could easily be expanded into a one-shot or spin-off series. What Rick has created to combat Doofus Jerry is flat out awesome and the layouts that Cannon creates when it’s activated are terrific. Page 17 is a slick full-paged splash that shows the antagonist moments before his comeuppance and it had me cheering. However, I was laughing my head off at the final panel. Cannon really outdid himself on this installment. Marc Ellerby is also the illustrator of “Summer Job” and it nicely brings a science fiction element, or should I say “elements”, into a common place. Summer’s expressions are half the fun of this story, though the many varieties of one character are incredibly fun to see again. Overall grades: Both A 

The colors: For such a dark tale, the Doofus Jerry story has wonderfully welcome bright coloring from Katy Farina. This echoed the bright colors of the show and allowed all aspects of the art to be clearly seen; Jerry’s full reveal at the bottom of the first page is an excellent example of this. The blue that colors the sounds behind the shocked Morty at the top of Page 3 is excellent and the green that shows Doofus Rick and Jerry’s travels outstanding. The colors of the worlds this pair visits are especially vivid. The suits that the Smith family and Rick don capture the show that they’re parodying spectacularly. The colors in “Summer Job” are also good, with Summer’s bright top being an eye magnet for the reader so that she can be seen against an ocean of helpers. Overall grades: Both A

The letters: There is one letterer for the entire issue and that’s Crank! This letterer creates scene settings, dialogue, yells, sounds, transmissions, the title for “Summer Job”, the passing of time, and the final word of the last panel. The sounds in this issue are fun, with FZZZAP and SPLOINK my favorites, though I do think the passage of time on Page 20 makes that retail day seem even longer. Overall grade: A

The final line: Doofus Jerry is one of Rick and Morty’s greatest villains and his saga must be read to be believed. This had me wincing, cheering, and laughing. Recommended. Overall grade: A

To order a print copy of this book go to https://oni-press.myshopify.com/collections/new-releases/products/rick-and-morty-23

To order a digital copy of this book go to https://www.comixology.com/Rick-and-Morty-23/digital-comic/463205?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

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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