REVIEW: ‘Rick And Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons,’ Issue #1 – “Chapter II: Painscape”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dungeons & Dragons #1

Rick And Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons #1: The Forgotten Rolls is a joint project brought to you by IDW Publishing and Oni Press. It is written by Jim Zub, illustrated by Troy Little, colored by Leonardo Ito, and has lettering by CRANK! with additional lettering by Troy Little. Previously, in Chapter 1 of Rick And Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons, the Smith family bonded over a role-playing board game of Dungeons & Dragons (DnD). Enter Grandpa Rick Sanchez, who is feeling a lot left out, transporting the family into a real-life DnD dimension where the stakes are very real. The family successfully completes the campaign, bringing them closer than before and connecting them all to the classic RPG board game.

Enter Chapter II: Painscape. Jerry, Summer, Morty, and Beth are all sitting down watching TV just as they normally do, but this is not the normal Smith household. Swords and shields decorate the walls. With a giant orb held in place by a talon cradle, and hefty books and chests filling the shelves, The Smith family are all dressed in DnD franchise clothing on the edge of their seats watching a competition. No, not sports, it’s a live viewing of a professional DnD game, complete with sports-like commentary. The Hobby Haul shop is now Ye ‘Ol Hobby Mall. Archery instructors advertise on TV. The shopping channel is filled with DnD replicas. The world is gripped by DnD fever!

Just as you begin to wonder what has happened, BOOM. The TV receives a big blue laser blast style hole right in the middle, to the distraught faces of the family. Rick Sanchez has entered the fray. He proceeds to tell the family that something is wrong, that this reality has been tampered with. Rick plans to get to the bottom of it.

Rick And Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons #1 is another brilliant collaboration between the two properties of Rick And Morty and Dungeons & Dragons. Zub leans heavily into the lore of DnD adding real depth to the story. The references and the items within the background are all things Zub and his creative team have worked into the issue. Opening issues can be particularly to traverse. Finding the right balance between backstory and setup is a tough compromise to make, however, Zub has struck the expertly here.

The issue dumps you into the middle of the situation to give you a taste of how everything has changed. As the story unfolds it gives you more than enough detail to suck you in. The ending is a satisfying “gasp” that will leave the best fans craving more.

Little’s work continues to capture the show in its true form. Both the story and art flows so fluidly that for me as a reader I felt the pages mirrored the animation. Capturing the perfect level of entertainment and escapism is the goal for any comic creative team. Where Little really excels, is the background detail he weaves in. There are levels of details to enjoy for all types of fans, from the casual to the obsessive.

Ito’s contribution with the colors pairs very well with Little’s illustrations. Neither one can be out of sync with the other, without the work as a whole is out of balance. Ito’s work is so good within this issue, and prior series of Rick And Morty, that he could have easily had walked off of the Adult Swim team to color this series.

CRANK! also has some fantastic contributions. They are working with a copious amount of dialogue, especially given all of Rick’s sarcastic diatribes. The lettering is really maintained, and at no point does it become distracting from the flow of the story. Some of the best lettering was in CRANK!’s onomatopoeia capturing the noise of the portal gun, or the roll of the DnD dice, and the power going out due to Rick’s experiments.

If you’ve never read a Rick and Morty comic I highly recommend getting in on Rick And Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons #1, and encourage you to read the prior box set. It captures every ounce of essence from the show. It pays homage in an honest way to the DnD routes, without sacrificing the comedic nature of Rick And Morty.

Rick And Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons #1: The Forgotten Rolls is available now wherever comics are sold.


Rick And Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons #1 - "Chapter II: Painscape"
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TL;DR

If you’ve never read a Rick and Morty comic I highly recommend getting in on Rick And Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons #1, and encourage you to read the prior box set. It captures every ounce of essence from the show. It pays homage in an honest way to the DnD routes, without sacrificing on the comedic nature of Rick And Morty.