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‘Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #5’ - Advance Comic Book Review

Over half a decade ago, several voice actors with limited connections to one another began playing a game of Dungeons & Dragons as a birthday present to one of the cast members. Years later, the game went from a way to relax and have fun to a live-streamed show to one of the most popular programs on the internet. With the podcast and stream in full swing and an animated series on the way, fans have been clamoring for the characters' stories that predated their game. Thanks to Dark Horse Comics, we've gotten just that with the second Vox Machina Origins series that explores the home of our talented cast. With this issue, we get to meet another familiar face from the Vox Machina we've come to know, love, and laugh at when they do stupid things. So, so many stupid things.

The members of the crew (though they've yet to become a full-fledged adventuring party) have split up in an effort to help Grog (their Barbarian friend that has gotten himself into some trouble), with the charming Scanlan, the nervous Keyleth and the noble Pike going on a mission to secure an item that will help save their large friend.

While the story as a whole and the quest to save Grog have been very fun, like the introduction of Pike earlier, this issue is not about what happened, but who. This is the first comics introduction of one Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III, mercifully known to his friends as Percy. One of the most complicated members of the party, we have often heard how the other members of Vox Machina found Percy, and, thankfully, we now get to see how it all really happened.

There's a wonderful familiarity to the series, which makes sense, since it was written by co-creator and Dungeon Master Matt Mercer, along with renowned comics writer Jody Houser. All of the storytelling in this mini-series feels like the show; the dialogue feels like it stemmed from the words of the talented actors that have embodied them, and, as a fan of the show, I certainly hear the conversations in the voices of the characters. That is a testament to Mercer's guidance and Houser's talent. It's a natural fit for all the right reasons.

It helps that the characters also look as they were originally imagined, with artists Olivia Samson and Msassyk completely nailing both the feel of the characters, as well as the environment of Exandrian continent. With all of this combined, the incredible skill of all of these creators has built a great recreation of something that has already been such a mainstay in the lives of so many.

I think the real reason for the impact of this series is its parent show and, more importantly, the cast and creators. From the first moment of the show, it's obvious that these are friends who happened to be incredibly skilled and good at what they do. Exploring some very complicated themes, building lasting fictional relationships, and creating a worldwide phenomenon is something that is nearly impossible to do, but the earnestness of the cast, their genuine love for one another, and their commitment to being as caring and giving to the community makes it hard to not love them, but also what they put out into the world. #StoriesMatter, but the way those stories are presented are just as important, and the cast and crew of Critical Role exemplify that through their fictional universe. Seeing the franchise from its beginning has provided a fascinating glimpse into how this world was built, how it has grown, and how it impacted so many.


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