‘Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #6’ - Advance Comic Book Review

While the world is rightfully staying inside, many forms of entertainment have chosen to be safe and take a bit of time away from the world until things are able to done in a way that doesn't endanger themselves or others. One of those teams happen to be from Critical Role, the online juggernaut that focuses mostly on long-running Dungeons & Dragons campaigns that has given fans thousands of hours of content to enjoy and be moved by. After partnering with Dark Horse Comics, the team took their incredibly popular first campaign, focused on the group of disparate idiots that eventually became the legendary Vox Machina, into a new medium that focused on the adventures the players had with their characters before they became a viewable show. This brings about a fun irony, as Vox Machina: Origins shows the titular group before they were legends, bringing to life the stories of the Critical Role cast before they themselves became legends in their own right.

With their lovable Barbarian Grog under the spell of an evil lich, the now complete Vox Machina, after enlisting some help from new friends (and finding the cynical Percy along the way), are in the final steps of completing a ritual that will save Grog from being permanently taken over by the lich, becoming a powerful shell for an already powerful being . . . which would be bad, since Grog is really strong and can hit things very, very hard.

It's hard to believe anyone isn't already familiar with Critical Role, but for those who are unfamiliar, this is still a wonderful fantasy story about a group of plucky adventurers who come together, helping one another and beginning their journey towards becoming a found family. By saving Grog, they begin to solidify their bonds to one another which will last the rest of their lives.

Thanks to the help of Critical Role mastermind Matthew Mercer, this series is able to keep its ties to the source material while leaving room for more to be explored. Like a true Dungeon Master, Mercer lays the track and helps builds the paths, allowing others to see where this world that has emerged from his head will take them. Joined by Mercer is Jody Houser, an incredible and talented writer from the comics world who has not only helped pen the story, but transferred the long-form storytelling from the show into the structured comic book form.

Building the visuals of the world of Exandria is Olivia Samson and Msassyk, along with letterer Ariana Maher. Together, they have brought the world of Critical Role to life, bringing beautiful fantasy landscapes of familiar faces into a visual medium in a way that feels completely accurate to the source material. It's an amazing cohesion of art forms from very talented artists.

I love Critical Role, as its been a near-endless source of entertainment since its inception and release over half a decade ago. Throughout the series, the edict for the cast has been to tell this long, expansive story together. These characters, and those playing them, determine what happens, with Mercer as Dungeon Master setting the scene and allowing his players to go wild. They can follow the paths that he's laid out or completely ignore them, giving them an entirely new direction to go into, bringing about a range of consequences with it. It's an ultimate example of collaborative storytelling, and I think that's a form of creation that, while prevalent in nearly every form of entertainment, isn't given its proper credit. That kind of equal input is important in telling a story, and this group has fully embraced working together to bring about something that is not only fun for those who consume it, but fun for themselves, as well. Being able to work with people you love to create something you love brings so much out in a story, and being able to be happy with what you do matters a great deal.

With the second saga of Vox Machina now ended, it will be interesting to see how this group continues of the path towards Kraghammer (where the first episode of the streamed series began), and how the characters we knew when the show started became who they would eventually be.

Creative Team: Matt Mercer, Jody Houser (writers), Olivia Samson (artist), Msassyk (colorist), Ariana Maher (letterist)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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