In Review: Rick and Morty #51

You're r-r-really gonna -- URRP -- love this issue.

The covers: Three to find if Rick will let you. The A cover is by Marc Ellerby and Sarah Stern. Morty and his BFF Nestor are sitting in front of the TV in the Smith home playing a videogame. Mr. Crackers is perched on the sofa to Nestor’s left. Rick is emerging from the kitchen holding a coffee cup that sports WORLD’S BEST RICK on it. The look on his face says he’s not pleased with Nestor being in the house. A rare calm cover for this series, but it is the perfect lead-in to what the first tale features. The B by Angela Trizzino was the cover I picked up because of its content. A portal has opened up just under the title and Rick and Morty are falling to an unknown world. Rick is coming in horizontally with a pistol in his hand, shielding his eyes from the glare of this world’s sun with his right hand. Morty has an eye patch on and is unimpressed with their perilous descent. He’s holding a massive gun as he falls vertically. Around the pair fly two alien creatures whose bodies resemble a specific part of human anatomy. I love the art, though the coloring looks washed out. Darker colors would have helped. The final cover is quite the treat! It’s by Bob Layton with Ian Sokoliwski for Hero Trader. This has Rick standing before a circular creation of circuitry with a glorious maniacal look upon his face with his hands raised out with metal gloves on. These gloves are spouting blue electrical energy. Naturally he’s raised Morty off the ground who’s body has been separated into squares, much like Kevin Flynn before he entered the computer world in Tron. The art is terrific and the colors are perfection. This is a fantastic cover. Overall grades: A B+, B B-, and Hero Trader A+ 

The stories: “Rickstaken Identity” by Kyle Starks starts small and then blows up to outrageous proportions, which is my favorite type of story. Morty comes home with his friend Nestor, and his blackbird Mr. Crackers. Nestor says some nice things to Beth and Jerry, before Rick enters the room. He sees the two boys together and goes up to Nestor. “Hey! WHOA! What are you doing here? Get out of here! You’re not welcome here! SHOO! SHOO!” Trying to mend things with his friend, Morty goes running after him. Rick tells his family that the kid was an alien and he had to go. They don’t believe him, prompting his going over to Nestor’s house to confront his family. Things don’t go as one would expect, with a surprising reveal on 9 that leads to a fantastically bizarre action climax. The second tale is “Death Becomes Him” by Magdalene Visaggio and Jerry has finally ended up where one would expect: Jerry dead and being taken to oblivion by Death. Jerry speaking with Death is funny and the story ends as one would expect. However, the dialogue in the fifth panel on the last page gives Jerry some character development never shown or seen before. I’m applauding Visaggio for taking a simple premise and making it hilarious. Overall grades: Both A

The art: The first tale is illustrated by Marc Ellerby. This story looks as though it was taken from a lost episode, and that’s what every fan wants from this comic book series. Nestor’s look is unsettling, looking like a grown up Caillou from PBS. Rick’s frustration at no one in the house believing him is terrific, with his fury truly unleashed at the bottom of Page 5. And speaking of that page, the four panels that start it made me laugh out loud for the action and Morty’s face. There’s also some neat physical action from Jerry on 6 and the movement that’s created by the progression of panels on 7 is superior; Summer’s smile is the cherry on top. Rick’s joy at the end of 9 is awesome, as is Morty’s distress. Page 10 starts as Tron and takes a tremendous deviant turn in its final panels. These panels make me wince every time I look at them, but I still have a smile on my face. The climatic action sequences that end the tale are good, with the attachments to the ceiling fan icky cool. Page 17 is a full-paged splash and it needs to be due to the action it’s showing. Morty is awesome on the final page, resigned to his fate. A truly terrific job. Ian McGinty illustrates the final four pages which comprise the Jerry-centric final tale. I really like McGinty’s style. It’s a little different from the show’s style, with the characters looking rubbery, but I loved this deviation. Death looks fantastic. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy have made my default of Death look a specific way, so I’m always impressed when another artist can create a look that makes me (momentarily) forget that design. This Death is outstanding, especially with his lips stuck out on 21. Seriously, McGinty needs to come back to this series as soon as possible! Overall grades: Both A 

The colors: Sarah Stern is the colorist on both tales. Her work captures all the familiar colors of the series (the Smiths, their home, and Rick), but also gets to help mold a new location on Page 10 that looks like something out of the 1980’s. The greens that color the face at the bottom of 11 are perfect. These greens return for an icky feature on 13. The second story uses a neat faded bone white for Death, who also receives some nifty shading on his face, giving him some solid depth. In fact, Jerry gets some shading in his final panel on 20 that gives him a delightful dark tone. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, yells, sounds, transmissions, and computer text are created by Crank!. The yells are easy to differentiate from the dialogue because they’re in a larger and thicker font, making them resound off the page. The transmissions are part of a unique character’s speech and they absolutely suit this individual. The computer text only appears on Page 15 and looks as one would expect and made me laugh out loud at its design as well as what it states. There are a few sounds for the actions of this issue, though Page 17, which features an epic occurrence, is sadly silent. This isn’t Crank!’s fault, as its omission falls on the writer, but it would have been neat to see what this awesome letterer could have created. Overall grade: A-

The final line: New best friends and the Grim Reaper create problems in this issue. Nestor and his family are fantastic characters and I hope that they return one day. Rick and the Smiths’ dialogue is exceptionally sharp in this issue, with it making me laugh several times. The second story shows that Death thinks of Jerry much in the way everyone does. The visuals are top notch, with the characters looking like their screen personas, with McGinty’s art looking particularly sweet. You’re r-r-really gonna — URRP — love this issue. 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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