‘Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #2’ - Advance Comic Book Review

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.

When we last left off, the group was looking for Grog, the imposing half-giant Barbarian of the party, as he had mysteriously gotten up in the middle of the night and disappeared without warning. As the party began their search, they met a young gnome named Pike who had grown up with Grog and knows the city of Westruun better than any of the current party. They are led to the mountain of Gatshadow, where they begin their search for their missing compatriot and, as always, find much more than they bargained for.

I've mentioned with each review how much I love Critical Role, and it will likely be said each time a new issue releases. It's an incredible show with more heart, action, and suspense than any game that features a group of people sitting at a table and rolling dice ever should. Bringing those exploits into comic book form has been a wonder to watch, as they take the role-playing out of it and focus on the adventures of these characters. It's especially nice to see the perils that this team faced before the show began streaming, as these are adventures and dangers that fans of the show had never seen, but undoubtedly shaped these characters into becoming who we saw at the end of the show's first campaign.

Jody Houser, with guidance from Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer, hits it out of the park with this series and this issue. Her tone for these characters is perfect, and it's hard not to read each line of dialogue in the voice of the characters, which means that the way these characters speak in the series is pitch-perfect. With an incredible amount of history and dedication from Mercer, Houser has been able to really explore this world and see how the exploits of Vox Machina affect it.

Olivia Samson has returned for this second series, and it's a boon to the storytelling as a whole that she has. Her artwork is gorgeous, and her portrayal of this team and everyone they encounter is incredibly spot-on. While some of that credit should likely go to Mercer and the Critical Role team for ensuring proper character design, it's Samson who should get the bulk of it for using her talents to make this beloved team come to life and to show the world of Tal'Dorei in visual form. Joined by colorist Msassyk and letterer Ariana Maher, the visuals of this book are fantastic and serve to raise the level of authenticity for this series.

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II has been a wonderful series thus far, and there is no doubt that it will continue along that path. Given what is already known about this story, it's really fun to see some of the adventures that no one has experienced, aside from the players themselves. I can't wait to see the evolution of this group through the lens of this comic as they continue on their adventures.


Creators: Jody Houser, Matthew Mercer (writers), Olivia Samson (artist), Msassyk (colorist), Ariana Maher (letterer)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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