Russ Pirozek, Fanbase Press Contributor

Russ Pirozek, Fanbase Press Contributor

Vox Machina has returned with the second installment of their prequel series, Vox Machina Origins II. The spin-off of the hit, streaming Dungeons & Dragons game centers on some of the few moments that fans of Critical Role can't see - the exploits of the now-famous adventuring party before the show began streaming and before it became the phenomenon it is now.

It's almost here. The finale of one of the most impressive comic book series of the modern era is upon us, with the release of the penultimate issue of The Wicked + The Divine. Over the last five years, we've seen the growth of this series from a well-known favorite to a true classic. The quality has always been there, but the consistency is what makes this book as amazing as it is. It's one thing to have a good few issues or maybe a great arc. But for forty-four issues, this series has been impressing readers over and over, giving us new twists to savor, new characters to love, and a new reason to keep reading with each successive issue. I've been covering this series for a long time, and what keeps me coming back to the series each time is what is likely the same as it is for many readers: It's really, really good.

Critical Role is a phenomenon. The live-streaming Dungeons & Dragons show has a massive following, wide-spread acclaim, and some incredibly talented voice actors as part of their cast. Through one hundred and fifteen episodes and more than five hundred hours of streaming content, the cast plays characters from the adventuring band known as Vox Machina, a ragtag group of very different people who come together, save the world, and do a lot of ridiculous things along the way.  I've been a huge fan of the show for several years, both as a live show and a podcast. When Dark Horse Comics announced that the series was being turned into a comic book, I was extremely happy.  As the second chapter of the book prepares to hit the comic book shelves, it looks like Vox Machina is back and better than ever.

Tabletop RPGs are one of the most satisfying ways to tell a story, and with their recent boom in popularity, bringing RPGs into the comic book medium is an interesting way to show this beloved form of cooperative storytelling in a new light. With the release of the first volume of Die, RPGs are taken to another level, as the idea of a comic about a group of teenagers playing an RPG is injected with a liberal dose of creative fantasy storytelling with a modern twist.

It's been said for awhile now that the end is fast approaching for both the gods inside The Wicked + The Divine and the book itself, but with only two issues remaining, this has never been more true. As the final battle with Minerva and the revelations of the previous issues come to a head, there is a lot to unpack right now. Laura and the other gods have banded together and set themselves up for their final confrontation. All there is left to do now is save the world and potentially kill themselves in the process.

Dark Horse Comics is well known for its interesting catalog of titles. While their catalog often contains licensed comics, they also take chances on epic, new creator-owned series, including She Could Fly, a series by Christopher Cantwell, co-creator of the hit show, Halt and Catch Fire.

Rick and Morty is a strange franchise, known for being outlandish, kind of gross, and just a bizarre mix of science, humor, and some truly outrageous visuals. The comics for the franchise have been no different, keeping the same sense of personality and ridiculousness that the show is known for, without the tricky animation budgets and writing delays.

The home stretch is upon us, as we are now at the final four issues of this series. It's been a strange, intense ride over five years of god-based insanity, ridiculous specials, more musical references and/or puns than any one series should have, and so much beautiful art. Over the past forty issues, we've seen the gods of the last few generations die, betray each other, die some more, kill each other and a lot of other people, come back to life, and die some more. In between all of this dying and resurrection has been a mystical soap opera of backstabbing, love, loss, and some really crazy things. That being said, it's all been glorious, and this issue is no exception.

The return of the Wyld Stallyns has finally arrived, and, this time, the most popular duo in all of music are headed on an incredible intergalactic adventure in a way that only these two could. Years after their most excellent adventure and bogus journey, Bill & Ted, with their families in hand, have finally become what they always knew they could: the most influential band in all of time and space.

It's The Truman Show meets Pacific Rim in the most recent re-release of Rick Remender and Eric Nguyen's Gigantic, the story of a planet that is just now discovering that they aren't just being watched, but their whole lives were created as a form of entertainment.

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