In Review: Rick and Morty #16

Delightfully disturbing and demented as the show.

The covers: Four covers to find if you had your own Space Cruiser, but you don’t — so deal with it. Life is unfair. The Retail, or A, cover is by CJ Cannon with Ryan Hill. This has Rick showing his grandson the sights of a new world. It’s rare to see the inventor actually looking as though he’s enjoying being around Morty, who looks on wide eyed at the surroundings. If only the pair had looked on the cliff behind them they might see two figures in silhouette watching them, especially the big one on the right that’s sporting a double-sided axe. The art matches the look of the television series and the colors give the image a great alien glow. I did want to see more of the characters and less of the scenery. The Incentive, or B, cover has Rick looking on manically at two large containers that look to be holding two giant fetuses that look resemble demons. Morty looks frightened by the spectacle in the jeroboams. The intricate machinery that keeps them alive is also wicked looking. Great coloring on this with the title a stand out in neon blue against the crimson within the large vessels. Troy Nixey and Dave McCaig did a good job on this cover. Mady G is responsible for the Exceed Exclusive cover. This piece has Rick dressed like Carl Sagan, with Morty just behind him dressed similarly. The pair look to be surrounded by several computer generated walls that are full of multicolored static. Behind them a giant eyeball looks down upon them. The image I found of this cover online was very blurry, and I don’t know if that was due to the image quality or if it was the actual cover. This is a freaky cover, but that’s completely in line with this series’ tone. The final cover is the Convention Exclusive cover by Mariel Cartwright. This has the pair reenacting an image from The Last of Us with Rick as Joel and Morty as Ellie. They are surrounded by several faceless bipeds in a city overrun by vegetation. This is really fun and the best of the lot. Overall grades: Retail B+, Incentive A-, Exceed Exclusive C+, and Convention Exclusive A 

The stories: The first story is eighteen pages long and is written by Kyle Starks. There’s no title stated for it and there’s no conclusion, though it is stated that it will continued in Issue #18. This may be an editorial error, since the preview of the ocver within this book looks as though it’s continuing this cover. Upset at their last trip to another world, Morty goes off on Rick demanding they do something that helps people; after all, his father is not a great role model. Jerry pokes his head into the garage that has Rick agreeing with his grandson, so he agrees to “go make some space medicine.” Before they can do anything they hear a loud sob. Summer is in the garage crying because her boyfriend broke up with her. Rick responds by taking a few slugs from his flask, but Morty wants to take her with them so she can get away from her sorrows. The grandfather reluctantly agrees and they end up on Flarbellon-7. It’s a deserted world, save the things they need to make “space medicine.” Rick shows Morty what he has to do to get the medicine and it’s not pleasant. “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, Morty. For science.” While the youngster tries to hold up his end of the deal, two characters reveal themselves to Rick and Summer. They are there for a specific purpose, which naturally causes conflict for Rick and his grandchildren. Just when it seems that the trouble is over, a situation presents itself on Page 17 that has to be continued in a future issue. This was a funny read that had the same whacked out, inappropriately funny tone of the show. The second story is a four pager written by Marc Ellerby titled “Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Rick.” This has Rick and his daughter Beth spending some time together on an alien world. Rick’s so happy he suggests firing Morty and taking on Beth full time. Naturally something happens to ruin their serene scene, involving aliens, violence, and a situation that requires Beth to do something uncomfortable. The extended joke starts funny, but the climax is telegraphed. Much better is Rick’s dialogue while the pair are in trouble. Overall grades: The first story A and “Don’t” B-

The art: A book that’s an extension of an animated program should try to mirror the look of the series as much as possible. CJ Cannon is more than successful in making every page look as though it’s a lost episode of this show. The first page looks great with Rick coming through a dimensional doorway and Morty already in the garage, but covered in slime. The anger on the boy’s face is great. The setting is also outstanding, with Cannon creating every aspect of this space from several different angles. This is extremely smart establishing it with so much detail on the initial page so that if he wants to pull back from drawing it in later panels the reader already knows what the environment looks like. Jim’s entrance on Page 2 is funny and having panels four and six be similar mirrors an animated feature’s cuts between takes. The bottom of the page shows Morty being touched by something Rick is saying. His large eyes make him seem completely innocent; hence, he will be perfect fodder for something he will inevitably encounter later. Summer’s sadness and anger at being dumped was also great. The creatures encountered on 7 were perfectly designed. Their look completely justified Morty’s reactions to the situation. The characters that appear on 8 are also designed well, with each matching their personalities. The group that begins to appear on 11 also were good, with their headwear being outstanding. The task that’s accomplished off panel is shown fantastically from Morty’s reaction at the top of 14. Page 16’s ninth panel nicely echoed countless scenes from the show that inspired it. The second story is illustrated by Marc Ellerby. The style is not as close to the look of the show, but close enough. The characters that Beth and Morty encounter were the highlights of the piece, as was the action which was really well drawn. Beth, sadly, is the weakest looking character, with her eyes not looking right. This hurts the story because she’s the punchline of the story. Overall grades: The first story A and “Don’t” B-

The colors: This is the strongest element of this book. Ryan Hill does an incredible job on the opening story. The first panel shows Hill’s skills with a sensational otherworldly green on the portal, the gross pink slime, and the the sensational shades of the garage. Flarebellon-7 looks gorgeous with its orange skies and green clouds. It looks fantastic. With the appearance of the characters on 7 the colors warm to an almost sickeningly sweet state, and that matches the necessary tone of the story. The colors chosen for the shorter of the pair of characters that appear on 8 was also good; violet gives the individual a tacky tone that matches his wardrobe. Hill makes every page gorgeous even when the grotesque is occurring. Marc Ellerby colors his “Don’t” story and the colors are really, really, really over the top bright. It’s not a color scheme I’ve seen before for these characters and it didn’t fit. It took me out of the story. Overall grades: The first story A+ and “Don’t” D+

The letters: Yells, dialogue, sounds, belches, a group’s unique speech, the title of the second story, and the final word on the final page are all created by Crank! Everything Chris does is great, with the belching making me laugh with its size and how it’s rendered. I also liked the final word of the book which is in complete contrast to the image in the panel. Overall grade: A

The final line: If you like the series, you’ll like this book. The first story is much stronger than the second, but I’d still recommend picking this up if you enjoy the show. After reading this issue, I’ll be adding this series to my pull list because it’s as delightfully disturbing and demented as the show. Overall grade: B+

To find out more about this issue and others featuring the characters from Rick and Morty, go to http://onipress.tumblr.com/

 

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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