‘Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins - Volume 1’ - Advance Trade Paperback Review

I've mentioned in my reviews before that I am a huge fan of the Dungeons & Dragons show, Critical Role. I've been a fan of the show for a long time, and as its popularity has grown, so has the desire for more and more content related to the tales of the group of plucky adventurers known as Vox Machina. While their story wrapped up quite awhile ago, the public version of the show began in the middle of things, as Vox Machina had already become a well-known adventuring party as fans began to get to know these characters. With that, the cast and creators of the show struck a deal with Dark Horse Comics to share the team's pre-live-streaming adventures. These are the beginnings of the group, how they met and what became of them as they grew from a band of bumbling idiots to the saviors of the world.

Vox Machina is a bit of an enigma in the world of this universe. They are simultaneously some of the most powerful beings on the planet, as well as a bunch of ridiculous buffoons who somehow haven't managed to die yet (at least, not often). Through the course of the show, they've grown, become more powerful, and set themselves on a course to save the world from an unyielding enemy. When this book begins, they aren't even a team yet, and their bumbling is on full display as they meet in the city of Stilben, paired up into a few separate groups and pushed into each other's orbit.

This is a fun story with series creator and Dungeon Master Matt Mercer bringing his world to life in comic book form. Watching these characters come to life, interact, and join together is especially satisfying for fans, as this elaborate fantasy setting has no shortage of interesting tidbits. As the group investigates a mystery in the city of Stilben, they begin to uncover sinister plots, all the while becoming more and more in each other's way. Scanlan Shorthalt and Grog Strongjaw, Keyleth and Tiberius Stormwind, Vex'ahlia and Vax'ildan all move towards goals independently, coming together into a party that begins to resemble the one we've come to know and love.

Collaborating with Mercer is writer Matthew Colville. Ttogether, they plot out the fantastic story of disparate factions coming together to solve the mystery of dark and sinister actions being taken in this swamp city. Combined with the gorgeous artwork of artist Olivia Samson and colorist Chris Northrop, this series looks and feels like the show itself, if Mercer's descriptions were given visual life.

For fans of this series, this is an incredible piece of work that will allow fellow Critters to see behind the veil a bit. Getting to see the pre-stream adventurers is something that fans have wanted for a long time, and with this first volume, we finally get to see how things came together. While this series might only really be for fans of the show, there are many, many Critters in the world that will love getting a look at Vox Machina, before they became the saviors of the world.


Creative Team: Matthew Colville, Matthew Mercer (writers), Olivia Samson (artist), Chris Northrop (colorist)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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