Let’s get this party started!
Writers: Jody Houser, Matthew Mercer
Artist: Olivia Samson
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Cover Artist: Minttu Hynninen
What They Say
The good life never lasts.
After paying off their debt to Drez Vina, Vox Machina enjoy a week in Westruun’s lap of luxury. But that costs coin, which has a bad habit of running out. So to keep themselves in the black (and the taverns, and the brothels) they agree to join an underground fighting ring. But before they can bash their way to cash, their attention is snagged by the case of a missing child.
Prepare to jump back into the fray with series III of Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, from the New York Times bestselling team of Jody Houser (Orphan Black, Stranger Things), Olivia Samson, MSASSYK (Isola, Gotham Academy), and Ariana Maher (James Bond, Xena)!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the whole party finally in place, it’s time for Vox Machina to really start becoming the heroes of Exandria. Or, at least that’s what you’d think the party would be up to. But this is Critical Role, and this is D&D, and thus the party isn’t so much adventuring for the glory but for the partying.
After the events of the previous arc of this series (is it really a mini-series if we’re on to the third set of issues?) I was expecting to see the mission that Drez Vina sent the group on. It is mentioned as a footnote, a means to the end of getting paid. Instead, we are treated to a couple of montages of what a happy Vox Machina looks like as the adventurers spend their loot and basically enjoy life for a bit. When the money from one adventure runs out the group is approached asking if they’d like to take part in an underground fighting ring. Grog couldn’t be happier at the prospect of a good fight, and the prize money wouldn’t be shabby either.
There are plenty of little details mixed into the festivities for fans to notice. The wreaths and decorations on the walls of the tavern hint at the approaching Winter’s Crest festival. Vex haggles at the market, Percy and Keyleth have already become fast friends, Vax is scene flirting with both women and men. In very few words the character of these characters is being put on display. With how dour and cranky the group had been up to this point we needed some levity. Let’s just say the group didn’t have their best face forward prior to this.
Percy, one of the newest members of the group, still feels like the odd man out. Pike has a good reason to stick around, being a close friend of Grog’s. Percy simply just seems to be enjoying the group’s company, but he’s basically a cipher at this point. (To be fair, he was the quiet guy with the gun in the back of the party up until a much later arc, so that kinda checks out.) Long time fans will also notice that Tiberius has been thoroughly removed from the narrative at this point. Revisionist history, yes, but unfortunately probably for the best.
It isn’t all fun and games in this issue though. There are hints at something troubling happening on the horizon. A woman begs the group for them to help her find her son, a cause which Keyleth is eager to help out with but one that the more money-minded in the party don’t really care for. I’m curious to see if that will be tackled in this six-issue arc or pushed off to the next.
Samson’s art continues to improve over the course of this series. I’ve noticed that Vex and Keyleth’s faces don’t look quite so similar anymore, and as usual, the attention to detail is strong. The rest of the artistic and writing team continues to do excellent work.
Vox Machina is off on yet another adventure, but this one is a bit closer to civilization. Everyone loves a good bar fight and tournament arc! The series still feels like it is mainly by fans and for fans of Critical Role or Dungeons & Dragons. While I still think this format is a bit restricting for what is a sprawling epic, it navigates the condensed page count while managing to maintain the character of this specific world of high fantasy.
Released By: Dark Horse
Release Date: February 10, 2021
MSRP: $3.99 US