In Review: Rick and Morty #26

You don't know nihilism until you've read Rick and Morty. At least you'll be laughing. Recommended.

The covers: Two to find as you laugh or cry your way through this issue of this twisted series. The Regular cover is by CJ Cannon. The aliens that Rick’s identified as Spatio 5 Culus are invading the Earth and it looks as though our heroes can do nothing but look on in shock. Once again, the alien ships on this book look unlike anything seen on the small or big screen. This image has got a really sinister feel because of the dark coloring, but it does hide a lot of the illustration. This could have been a stronger cover if the colors had been brighter. The Variant cover is by Derek Fridolfs and features an unhappy Rick looking at a rapturous Morty holding a Meeseeks Box surrounded by several Mr. Meeseeks. This scene is nowhere in this comic, but everything is better with Mr. Meeseeks around. This cover just makes me so happy. Overall grade: Regular B- and Variant A-

The stories: Both stories in this issue are written by Kyle Starks, with the first being hilariously dark and the second a four page tale titled “A VR Nice Mother’s Day.” The opening story begins with the Earth surrounded by several ships and aliens contacting the President of the United States. “As per galactic federation law,” the alien begins in its transmission, “this is your one lunar cycle warning of pending invasion. You have twenty-four hours to either leave your planet, kill yourselves, or prepare to die in our violent conquering of your homeworld. Whichever you’re most comfortable with. Sorry.” The president turns to his staff. “Get me that smart guy who helped us out with that giant head.” Rick’s being bothered by Jerry who needs help with the weed-eater. He’s blown off. “Mowing is just an exercise in human vanity. Grass existed on this planet before us and will be here after. Paring it down to four inches doesn’t make us any better than it.” This makes Jerry happy, who goes to his wife Beth, proclaiming he doesn’t have to do the lawn, which leads to an argument between the couple. Rick leaves the bickering Smiths to go in the house, where he finds Rick building a volcano for his school. The teen is proud of the bubbling action, but Rick thinks of it differently. Rick leaves momentarily to show Morty what a real science experiment is: Drippy Boy. This is a unique character that has a sensationally dark scene with his creator on Page 7. It’s shortly after this that the government arrives on the Smiths’ doorstep to consult with Rick. Sanchez has got a killer of a response on 9 in the third panel that had me howling. Things spiral out of control, as they tend to, ending with one character making a choice that even shocks Rick. The final scene with Rick and Morty on 17 is painfully funny, while the last page of the story is awesome. “A VR Nice Mother’s Day” starts from Beth’s point of view as she’s having a perfect Mother’s Day, which should cause readers some worry, because nothing goes perfectly for this family. The next two pages show the reality of the situation which is hilarious. The ending is even better, with Beth doing two actions, both of which sum up her character well. These are fun, dark stories. Overall grade: A

The art: The first story is illustrated by CJ Cannon and it looks great. The character work closely resembles the characters as they appear on the show, while the new characters look as though they would easily fit into a small screen episode. The Spatio 5 Culus look great. Their leader appears on the first page and are freakish in their first appearance, but they emote just like humans, as shown by the funny change in mouth size and the addition of hands to its appearance in the second panel. Drippy Boy has a very simple design, but his emotional state is easy to discern based on his posture. He’s great, with his final panels being tremendous. Cannon is able to make the characters’ movement very fluid, such as what Rick does with Morty’s volcano and the action of Dippy Boy on 6. Jerry has a battle with the weed-eater that looks like individual animation cels, rather than comic book illustrations. A really neat effect that Cannon creates is a transportation effect for the aliens; it’s only used once but is unique among all the sci-fi comics I’ve read and is outstanding. The four page story that closes the book is illustrated by Marc Ellerby and also looks terrific. The point of view for the first few panels is great, with the utter joy on each characters’ face instantly putting me on guard. The reveal on the second page is a visual joy with all the chaos one could want from this series. There’s also a surprising reveal in the third panel on the following page, which looks to be a nod to the Netflix’s Stranger Things. The action on the final page is shocking, funny, and ultimately laugh out loud funny. Excellent art can be found throughout this issue. Overall grade: A

The color: Katy Farina is the colorist for both stories. She uses her talents to accentuate the artists’ work. For example, the invading aliens have a great dark green for their ships and a lighter green for their skin tone to instantly stand apart from the human characters. The president’s control room is in the expected metallic grays, leading to an explosion of real world colors when the Smiths’ home is first seen. Drippy Boy is a delightful shade of strawberry, giving him an upbeat tone and having him stand out from the humans. The interior of the aliens’ ships is dark, but Farina nicely gives the characters a subtle darkening to show the readers the dark environment. There’s one color on Page 17 that stands out from the rest of the story and it makes the humor in that moment that much stronger. The backup story starts with incredibly bright colors, adding to the uncomfortable happy setting, only to go dark when reality is revealed. The colors are the most drastic on the final tale, but this story changes more quickly than the first tale. Farina’s work is excellent. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, a transmission, sounds, scene settings, yells, a censored word, important text on Page 18, the story’s title, and happy praise that closes the final story are all created by Crank! Every bit of text created is easy to read and the sounds are outstanding, especially those in the final story. The happy praise in the final panel is also wonderful, because it so obviously does not fit into this book. Overall grade: A 

The final line: You don’t know nihilism until you’ve read Rick and Morty. At least you’ll be laughing. Funny and dark with visuals that match those from the show. Always recommended. Overall grade: A

To purchase a print copy go to https://oni-press.myshopify.com/collections/new-releases/products/rick-and-morty-26

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Rick-and-Morty-26/digital-comic/497288?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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