As a nearly lifelong player of Dungeons and Dragons, I’m ecstatic about it’s rise to prominence in media. It finally feels like one of the stalwart nerd properties is getting the credit that it deserves. As a result, we’re starting to see more and more crossovers and references from various established shows and series. One of the latest series to throw its gauntlet into the ring is Rick and Morty through publisher IDW and efforts of writers Patrick Rothfuss and Jim Zub, artist Troy Little, colorist Leonardo Ito, and letterer Robbie Robbins. Thanks to this talented group Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons #1 is a clever, tongue-in-cheek homage the classic tabletop RPG, though it might not appeal to the casual newcomer.
The story opens with Morty hearing about a thrilling tale from his classmates on the bus to school. The classmates soon reveal that they’re discussing the previous night’s Dungeons & Dragons session. Interested but not convinced, Morty goes on with his day but continues to hear other students sharing their stories.
Soon enough, he finds the motivation he needs to pick the game up and give it a try himself. When Morty realizes that he has no idea where to begin and accidentally got himself a date with the cute girl working at the game store, he enlists the help of Rick to make him an expert. Predictably things spiral out of control quickly, but the means by which it happens is clever and funny.
I was skeptical that any writers besides those specifically from the show would be able to capture the unique personalities of the titular characters but I was happy to be proven wrong. Rothfuss and Zub do a fine job of channeling Rick and Morty and the chaos that surrounds them in every episode.
You can feel the care that the two have toward both halves of the source material for this comic. As this is a Director’s Cut we are also treated to a more in-depth look at their process with a few pages of the script to pore over once the issue’s story has concluded. My only real criticism of the story itself is that there may not be much there for folks who are neither Rick and Morty nor D&D fans. However, when you buy a comic titled Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons you probably have a good idea of what you’ll find inside.
The art by Troy Little does exactly what it needs to by being a spot-on recreation of what we’re used to seeing from the cartoon. Being able to see Rick and Morty decked out in costumes from D&D is a treat. Little also packs nearly every panel with tiny easter eggs for those hardcore D&D fans who might be reading. Sadly, as this is a Director’s Cut, many of the pages have been reduced to just the art and lettering with the coloring removed.
This is additionally disappointing because colorist Leonardo Ito matches Troy Little’s art to the exact color schemes needed to bring panels that could be straight from the show to life on the page. The lettering by Robbie Robbins is outstanding at conveying the emotions on the panel, taking the center stage itself when necessary and fitting in perfectly when the art should be featured.
Overall, Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons #1 is a great comic for fans of either property. It nails the biting, sometimes crude, and brilliant humor of Rick and Morty. Simultaneously it revels in the decades of history and in-jokes that belong to D&D. Though it may not have much for newcomers, if you’re a fan of either then it’s definitely worth your time
Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons: Director’s Cut #1 is available in comic book stores everywhere March 27, 2019.
Rating: 4/5 Hit Points