PopCultHQ received a review copy of Rick and Morty #40 from Oni Press. Available July 25th, the creative team for this series features writing from Kyle Starks and Josh Trujillo, art from Marc Ellerby and Rii Abrego, colors by Sarah Stern, and lettering from Crank!.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s review of…
RICK AND MORTY™ #40
Age Rating: Teen, 16+
Page Count: 32
Rick and Morty are locked in a lethal battle royale, but Rick has a secret weapon—the Transformatron, which can change him into any form. Pizza Rick! Cactus Rick! Butter Churn Rick! IT’S A RICK-STRAVAGNZA! Rick turns into a lot of different things in this issue, okay? There’s also a lot of violence and blatant disregard for Morty’s well-being! You’re gonna love it!
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
Rick and Morty #40
“WUBBA LUBBA DUB DUUUUBBBB!”
I’ve been a huge fan of Rick and Morty since season 2 debuted. I never caught seaason 1 on its original airing, but I was at a friend’s house and he made my wife and I sit through some episodes in a pre-season 2 marathon and I never laughed so hard. From that moment, I was hooked.
However, I was never a fan of comic book tie-ins for television properties. Too many simply fail to deliver: Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, even a lot of the early Gold Key, Marvel and DC, and Star Trek comics paled in comparison to the television series. There are some exceptions: Marvel’s GI Joe and Transformers, as well as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (yes, I know the comic came first) and now Rick and Morty from Oni Press is another exception.
I had the pleasure of reading this week’s Rick and Morty #40. It’s hard to imagine this comic has been going on for a little over 3 years and yet amassed more issues than episodes in the animated television series 3-year run.
Writing and maintaining an animated comic spinoff is a difficult task. First, not only does the art have to do its best to look like the original subject matter, but the writing has to be as flawless as possible. That’s what Rick and Morty #40 does. We are also treated to two tales in this book!
This story is written by Kyle Starks. Starks has written work published by Image Comics, as well as being a standard from Oni Press. His graphic novel, ‘Sex Castle‘ had him up for an Eisner nominatation. Also, his Rock Candy Mountain went over extremely well. It’s no wonder he was tapped to write Rick and Morty now for Oni.
In his feature story, Rick and Morty have been participants in a a very Hunger Games-like intergalactic TV series called ‘Survival Arena Murder Time.’ They have apparently been in the game for a long while and have racked up points through spheres, which are awarded by the level of entertainment each kill is performed. Seriously, that’s some Hunger Games s*** right there. I’m waiting for Morty [Russell] Crowe to step out and ask, “Are you not entertained!?” as Morty whines and asks why are they doing this?
Rick can only explain it’s the only way to go Balls Deep. That’s right, the winners can exchange the most spheres for points to win a trip to the super secret luxurious resort called ‘Balls Deep.’ Insert a page of “going balls deep” jokes. When Morty again asks why they can’t just portal gun into the resort, Rick explains you need to be invited and explains what happened the last time they used the portal gun to gain entrance into a fancy party – an alien lord named the Lord Imperiator had snubbed Rick.
Along the way, Rick uses a Transformatron which changed Rick into a number of various items:
Plumbus Rick, Skillet Rick, Cactus Rick, Corndog Rick, Banana Rick, Butter Churn Rick, Weeble Wobble Rick, Houseplant Rick, Toilet Roll Rick, Football Rick, Jar of Spit Rick, Paddle Ball Rick, Stovetop Rick, Pizza Rick, and even Royo Rick!
So many Ricks, I can almost see the ones not borrowed from the game, Pocket Mortys, to maybe eventually end up in the game. We’re even given a few montage kill pages as Rick and Morty make their way through the remaining contestants.
Eventually, they have almost enough to go to Balls Deep as Morty is just about to have a nervous breakdown from all the killing. Oddly enough, Rick is the distraction in his various forms as Morty does the dirty work. Now covered in blood, Morty comes face-to-face with the last contestant, a young elephant-like being who is just a small child, Ewi. He wishes to make friends with Morty who (hesitantly) on a berating streak from Rick reaches out and strangles him as Ewi thinks they are hugging and he dies in Morty’s hands.
The two have won their trip to Balls Deep only for Rick to murder Lord Imperiator and run away with Morty. Again showing that Rick had devised a complicated plan to assassinate someone who insulted him years earlier.
This story is by Josh Trujillo, who not only has written comics but also worked on video games such as the Guardians of the Galaxy: Telltale Series and Batman: The Enemy Within Telltale Series. His Rick and Morty story is rather short and doesn’t give much insight into his take on the characters or the world.
In a Morty Court of Law, Rick and Morty are suing Fancy Rick who had illegally shaved Morty’s hair. Rick realizes in the midst of the court proceedings that they have been cloned. Together, they discover a huge towering mutant made of both Rick and Morty DNA. Rick and Morty release it in the wild of an ocean as the world would never understand such a beautiful creature. As Morty releases it as one would a pet dog, he askes Rick if he thinks the creature would be happy… which Rick responds with “I don’t care.” Classic Rick Sanchez!
Both feature stories are by various artists.
“Battle Rickale” is drawn by Marc Ellerby and “Morty Court” is drawn by Rii Abrego. Where I always hate comparing artists, much less giving an artistic review, I would have to say that Marc Ellerby does a much better job of capturing the look and feel of the animated series over Rii Abrego.
First, Ellerby has done work for Rick and Morty in the past, as well as work on The Eleventh Doctor series for Titan Comics ‘Doctor Who’ line of comics. There was just something about the way he draws Rick, as well as Morty’s, faces that almost looks as if they could be animated cells from the TV show itself. His art with Kyle Starks words are simply spot-on.
Second, Rii Abrego has his own style. Abrego works for Boom! as well as Oni Press. His featured work is from a series called Steven Universe, another comic based on an animated TV series. Something about his art just doesn’t fit but he does nail Summer’s likeness down to her disgusted glances.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
As the first real Rick and Morty issue I read cover-to-cover, and not simply glanced at, I felt it was fun. It captures the spirit of the series down to a tee. When the words and the art are spot-on, you have a fantastic story that feels like you’re reading Rick and Morty. I won’t lie, I read their dialogue in my head in their voices.
I’m tempted to run out and fill in the other 39 issues. With the deal Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon (the creators of Rick and Morty) just signed with Cartoon Network, we should see no shortage of Rick and Morty comics and spinoffs in the near future.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Reason for rating: Simply because Rick and Morty isn’t like your usual comic book. Very rarely does the series do multiple story arcs. This makes the series, as a whole, very reader-friendly and approachable for new people who aren’t your usual comic reader and are just fans of the cartoon. Given the prices of some Rick and Morty back issues, as well as the numerous printings early issues have been given, it’s no shock this book is that good and that popular among comic readers, collectors, and just plain Rick and Morty watchers! Well worth checking out!
Rick and Morty™ #40 will be available at your local
comic shop and online retailers Wednesday, July 25th!
Be sure to follow the creative team!
Writer – Kyle Starks
Artist – Marc Ellerby
Artist – Rii Abrego
Colorist – Sarah Stern
Letterer – Crank!
Publisher – Oni Press