Comic Reviews: Venom The First Host and Rick and Morty vs Dungeons and Dragons!


687306._SX360_QL80_TTD_Venom: The First Host #1 (Marvel Comics)

The current Venom run is doing some pretty incredible things with the character, exploring the history of the symbiote and it’s long connection with the universe. Which makes Venom: the First Host, a new miniseries from Mike Costa and Mark Bagley, a weird one. While it’s showing off a new part of the history of Eddie Brock’s “other”, the fact that we’re getting some additional “never before seen” history behind the creature at the same time as the current run on the character makes The First Host seem repetitive, and if I’m being honest, a little boring too.

The First Host posits that the original host for the symbiote was a Kree soldier, and now he’s come looking for his property back. Eddie Brock, out on his usual “patrol”, encounters the alien at the end of the issue, and, well, here we are, with a new miniseries that’s going to presumably “change everything we know about Venom”.

Mike Costa has experience with the character from the previous Venom run, and I’ll admit, that run wasn’t too bad. But I can’t help but feel like this is a holdover from that run, and Marvel is allowing him to to finish it as a miniseries to make amends for Donny Cates relaunching the series. It’s really the only thing I can think of that would explain this miniseries even existing, especially since it’s covering a lot of similar ground that Cates’ run is. That’s not to say Costa’s script is bad, it’s just really hard to read this and not compare it with the other (better) Venom series that’s on the stands right now.

At least both of these Venom series have great art. Classic Marvel artist Mark Bagley could probably draw Venom in his sleep at this point, but he shows no signs of phoning it in with this issue, which is really nice to see. In an age where a lot of legendary artists are content with resting on their laurels, it’s nice to see that Bagley is still cranking out pages that are reminiscent of his glory days of the 90’s.

I’m sure there will be Venom fanatics who will eat The First Host up, but for me it just doesn’t do enough to justify sticking with it. It’s just too similar to what’s happening in the current run of the regular Venom series, and there’s nothing in here that’s been revealed so far that makes me think it’ll surpass that series. Oh well, at least we’ve still got the regular series.


Rick and Morty vs Dungeons and Dragons #1 (Oni Press) e2926584-81d5-41f0-b45e-168f4a527ab1

It seems like you can’t go anywhere without seeing Rick and Morty on something. TV, lunchboxes, umbrellas, toys, you name it. But no where is there brand more apparent than in Oni Press’ line of comics, which keep the (overzealous) fans of the series sated with monthly doses of their favorite psycho grandpa and his put-upon grandson. So far we’ve really only had the main series and few spinoffs, but Rick and Morty vs Dungeons and Dragons is the first crossover event for the franchise, and it boasts a pretty big name for co-writer: The Kingkiller Chronicle author Patrick Rothfuss. Aided by co-writer Jim Zub and artist Troy Little, Rick and Morty vs Dungeons and Dragons is both a loving tribute to the tabletop classic, and a worthy entry in the growing Rick and Morty pantheon as well.

After overhearing a bunch of kids in class talking about Dungeons and Dragons, Morty decides that he wants to get into it as well. Unfortunatley, peer pressure and a bunch of D&D books isn’t quite enough to help Morty understand the rules of the game, so he regretfully turns to the only person who can help him: his grandpa Rick. To Morty’s surprise though, Rick is an “OG D&D player”, and is ecstatic to help Morty set up his character and learn the ropes. What could go wrong?

I’ve got to say, Patrick Rothfuss and Jim Zub have crafted a really fun miniseries here. This comic reads almost exactly like an episode of Rick and Morty, and it moves along at a really quick pace, something that’s unfortunately lacking in a lot of modern comics. Morty and Rick are exactly as you remember them from the show, and I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected narrative curve from having Rick being super into Dungeons and Dragons, and it’s kind of nice to see him take a legitimate interest in his grandson’s name, even though we know it’s going to blow up in both of their faces.

Troy Little’s style is perfectly suited for this series, as it’s spot on with the look of the show. Past Rick and Morty comics have had the artists take a few liberties with the established look of the world, but here Little is able to not only nail the look of Rick and Morty’s world, but also making sure they seem fluid and not extremely stiff either. While I’m bummed that we don’t get a lot of Little’s take on the monster side of D&D, I’m pretty excited to see what he’s got planned.

Fans of Rick and Morty, Dungeons and Dragons, and even Patrick Rothfuss’ novels will find plenty to like with Rick and Morty vs Dungeons and Dragons, and it could end up being one of the better comics that Oni Press releases for the franchise. It’s a book that has a lot of fun poking a little well-deserved jabs at the current D&D resurgence, and it’s a solid comic to boot.

Posted on August 29, 2018, in Comic reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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