In Review: Rick and Morty #22

Funny, dark, sarcastic, honest, sick, and beautiful. What more could you want in a comic book?

The covers: A pair to find, and “pair” is a key word in both stories this issue. The Regular cover is by interior artist CJ Cannon and shows Doofus Jerry, who’s anything but, wearing a Council of Rick robe, looking down upon the disbelieving Ricks and Mortys. This does not bode well. This is a neat angle to set this cover at, seeing Jerry from the back and showing the many Ricks and Mortys looking on in fear. I would have preferred to see Jerry’s face on this cover, because it would communicate just as much to the reader. Plus the coloring is way too dark where the spotlight isn’t hitting and it’s next to impossible to make out any of the characters Cannon drew up there. Good idea, but not pulled off successfully. The Variant cover is by Kory Bing and it’s much more to my liking. This shows the exterior entrance to the Council of Ricks, looking down upon several, seemingly, thousand Ricks and Mortys. Granted, this scene appears nowhere in this issue, but the amount of detail put into the many variations of the title characters and the setting is tremendous. It’s impossible not to love this cover. Overall grades: Regular C and Variant A-

The stories: Kyle Starks continues the menace of Doofus Jerry unleashed on the heroes. This second chapter opens with a beaten Rick asleep in the garage wakened by Morty who pleads for his grandfather to do something to stop evil Jerry from another dimension. Rick explains he’s tried to do everything to take him out, but failed every time. “This guy, Morty, this effing guy, he’s got my number,” he says in fear. Morty doesn’t want him to give up, so Rick unveils his Neutrino Bomb. “I know it seems extreme, Mory. But it’s the only way. No one should have to live in a world where a Jerry can beat a Rick…It’s time to go full on Dr. Strangelove now.” Horrified, Morty tries to stop his grandfather and before Rick can set the bomb off, Jerry appears at the door. What he says frightens Rick and then infuriates them. This is followed up by a funny and completely inappropriate joke about The Golden Girls. This issue is like reading a lost episode of the series. It bats its way back and forth between laugh out loud jokes and absolutely dark storytelling. Doofus Jerry is a monster, unlike any Sanchez has encountered before. Knowing this, Rick contacts the only group he think can help: the Council of Ricks. This is when the book takes a tremendous turn. This story is only 18 pages long, but I was thinking about the heroes long after I was done reading. How in the heck are they going to get out of this? And how can Summer help? The four page back up story is “It’s A Kind of Morty Magic!” by Marc Ellerby. This has Morty once again frustrated that he can’t get Jessica at school to go with him to the Valentine’s Dance. Complaining at home about his situation, Rick has the solution, but not the one he’d hoped for. This was funny and I loved when Morty went to “close the deal.” Overall grades: Both A

The art: CJ Cannon is responsible for the visuals on the Doofus Jeff story and they look great. Rick is utterly horrible looking in this issue, having been beaten several times over by Jeff. On top of that, he’s got the look of a emotionally beaten man; when Jerry appears, he recoils. It’s impossible not to be effected seeing the strong protagonist so weak. The first six pages are set in the garage and Cannon really makes this setting great: it’s filled with all of Rick’s gadgets and postings, plus there’s some slick shadow work done on the walls to make the tone sinister. The membership of the Council of Ricks is, as always, terrific. It’s always cool to see the many varieties of Ricks and Cannon has a blast with hair, faces, and tattoos to differentiate them. The action that occurs on Pages 15 and 16 is awesome: it’s wholly evil and is a perfect match for the story. The antagonist is shown is like a god descending upon his minions, which so suits the story. The last page is killer! Marc Ellerby illustrates his own story on the final four pages and it’s a Morty tour de force as the young protagonist has a tremendous amount of over-the-top expressions, including desperation, frustration, anger, joy, fear, and arrogance. Rick has a terrific spit take on the final page that had me giggling and his final appearance in the story is hilarious. Overall grades: Both A

The colors: The first story begins very darkly, setting the tone of this tale from the outset. Katy Farina does some great shadow work on these pages, with the door to house being the only source of light into the garage. Even in the dark, Rick’s black eye is a constant reminder of the beatings he’s endured. When the characters enter the house, the colors are exactly as they are in the television episodes. The coloring becomes a key plot point on 15 and 16, with violets essential to the plot, and they were the perfect disturbing color. I’m assuming Marc Ellerby is also the colorist on the tale he wrote and drew, as it’s very bright and not as nuanced as Farina’s work in the first story. This, too, looks great. The greens of the final page are my favorite of this story. Overall grades: A

The letters: Both stories are lettered by Crank! and he’s created dialogue, sounds, a periodical’s text, yells, the title of the second story, and the closing text for each tale. Everything Crank! does looks good, with the sounds being spectacular. They are great during the fight scene and the second story’s last panel. Excellent. Overall grade: A

The final line: Funny, dark, sarcastic, honest, sick, and beautiful. What more could you want in a comic book? If you love the show, you’ll love this book. Overall grade: A

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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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