In Review: Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It #1

A nice twist on the beloved videogame/trading card franchise, with Morty showing characters shouldn't be caught at all.

The covers: Two covers to collect, by any means possible…The Regular cover features artwork by Katy Farina and it will satiate anyone’s jonesing for Mortys. Rick is in the center of a seas of Mortys, holding a not-a-Poké ball ecstatically. He’s holding one Morty in a headlock, who looks distressed, while there are more Mortys than one can count. This is fantastic and needs to be a print! The Variant cover is by Carolyn Main and is a nightmarish vision of Tetris gone awry. Rick is in the bottom left corner, holding the head of Little Rick, belching up some of the several bottles stacked behind him. A stack of Tetris shapes are about to crash down on him, while poor Morty is holding onto a final shape above a molten pit, which is shooting fireballs at him. Funny and sick; that’s the essence of Rick and Morty. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant B

The story: Tini Howard is the writer of this disturbingly funny tale, with this first part titled “Horrible Freedom.” It’s Day 14 of “The Agony of Freedom” and Morty wakes up next to Mermaid Morty. He shakes him awake, telling him he’s going to leave the safety of their hiding hole to get food. Mer-Morty doesn’t want him to go, but he needs to. “You need food, Mer-Morty! And-and-and water? Since I’m pretty sure you’re part fish?” he says looking at the fish tale on his sickly companion. He emerges in a lush forest and begins to run. Before going too far he spies a bag of pretzels, a bag of Cheetos, and two juice boxes hanging from a tree limb. “I got this, Mer-Morty.” He leaps in the air to grab them and is shot with an electronic tag that hits the back of his neck. He falls to the ground, incapacitated by the electricity shooting through his system. Rick emerges from the foliage, dressed in a matching red hat and hunting vest, carrying a rifle. “This is punishment for being stupid enough to try and eat naturally occurring prepacked snacks. You knew that was a trap, right? Juice comes from grapes, which grow from the ground. Nothing grows juice boxes. Juice is just an idiot stopping point between fruit and alcohol.” Rick is catching all the Mortys he can so they can battle other Mortys caught by other Ricks. It seems that the Rick that loses will be killed, and Rick has a lot of Ricks he wants dead. Once in Rick’s bunker, the other Mortys he captured are seen, creating a lot of visual humor. Morty escapes before Rick can put him in his not-a-Poké ball. He encounters another Morty, who has some painfully funny lines, and tries to help him escape and things go horribly awry. The final page has Morty finding some possible allies, but knowing Rick’s after him, this, too, will all go to hell. A funny, sick, sad tale that has me eager to read the next installment. Overall grade: A

The art: Marc Ellerby is responsible for the book’s art and it looks terrific. The visuals closely resemble the art from the television series, so it pulls fans into the story quickly. The story starts with the Mortys in the hole, with Morty looking better than the suffering Mer-Morty. When Morty emerges from his hole in the first panel on Page 3 Ellerby gives him a great thoughtful look as he considers something stupid. The food hanging from the tree was hilarious, with sparkles coming from the items. Rick’s indifference to the Morty he’s captured is shown plainly on his face as he drags his victim to his compound. The variety of Mortys that Rick has captured is great, with one even playing a harmonica in his cell. When Morty escapes the indifference on the other Mortys’ faces sparks a good chuckle. The new Morty that the protagonist encounters only has one visual difference from the familiar lead and it’s absolutely disturbing, which makes it fit in with what’s shown on the television series seamlessly. Pages 16 and 17 are the best two pages of the book, beginning happily and ending horrifically; plus there’s a riotous appearance by one Morty in the fourth panel on 17. The book ends with a full-page splash of several new characters, who will most likely have horrific ends. This art is funny and disturbing. Overall grade: A  

The colors: From the first page, colors help tell the story. Katy Farina applies a strong light source to both Mortys, with the Morty fans are familiar with having only part of his yellow shirt bright, while only Mer-Morty has his face lit. The bottom panel shows the hole that the light is entering through and Farina shows it without it being outlined, making for a more realistic effect. Throughout the book, Farina does an excellent job with light sources, especially when Morty is in a storage room. Once out and in the forest, greens dominate for all the foliage. This allows the snacks in their garish colors to really stand out. Making Rick’s hat and vest a firetruck red has him become the focus of each panel he’s in. The use of red at the bottom of Page 16 is shocking, as it should be, and will have the reader realizing that something terrible has occurred. Page 19 uses yellow and oranges wonderfully, creating a Heavenly tone for the settings, which is how Morty is feeling at this point. A solid job throughout. Overall grade: A

The letters: A time denotation, dialogue, the story’s title and book’s credits, yells, and sounds are created by Crank! I’m glad that Crank! is allowed to use italicized words to show characters’ emphasis when they speak. The dialogue sounds much more natural when this visual is used. This is apparent on Page 4, with italicized words used for yells and for Morty’s nervous dialogue in the final panel. Some fun sounds are on 9, with a particularly funny SKID. I always like what Crank! brings to a book. Overall grade: A

The final line: Rick is capturing all the Mortys he can to battle other Ricks and Morty’s not having it. A nice twist on the beloved videogame/trading card franchise, with Morty showing characters shouldn’t be caught at all. The art is as good as the series with plenty of quick visual jokes. Overall grade: A

To order a print copy go to https://oni-press.myshopify.com/collections/new-releases/products/rick-and-morty-pocket-like-you-stole-it-1

To see both covers go to my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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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