Critical Role fans are waiting to get their hands on the first issue of Vox Machina: Origins Series II. It releases digitally and physically Wednesday, July 10th. The first six-issues only released online, aside from the combined volume, later on, this is the first time the series will be released in individual comics in stores.
One week before the release, Critters experienced a dark week for Critical Role content, as the cast and crew took some time for themselves for the holiday. So fans are either catching up on older episodes or working diligently on their cosplay for Gen Con. As for us, we got our hands on a preview copy of issue one of the second series and haven’t been able to put it down since.
Written by award-nominated writer Jody Houser with art by returning artist Olivia Samson, Dark Horse’s Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II issue one dives right back into the story for the adventuring party of Vox Machina.
Desperately seeking Strongjaw.
— Critical Role (@CriticalRole) July 5, 2019
The comic finds the heroes continuing their quest in the coastal town of Stilben. After having solved the mystery in the first arc, they are getting to know each other by taking on more quests in hopes to make a lot of coin. We’ve heard tales of the characters exploits in the town but getting to actually witness it play out in a comic is a wonderful experience.
Right away, Houser cleverly and brilliantly captures the personality of each character. You get a lot of humor and wit from Scanlan Shorthalt; the intimidating presence and dumbfoundedness of Grog Strongjaw; the cleverness and banter between Vex’ahlia and Vax’ildan, Keyleth’s carefree joyful attitude, and Tiberius Stormwind’s absentminded passion for unique magical items.
What really makes it worth the read is how Houser and Samson take the world created by Matthew Mercer, and add even more vibrancy to it. He gets to craft a masterful story each week for thousands of fans, while Samson gets just a few small panes of space, and that’s all she really needs, though I wish each issue were longer. Her stunning art brings to life familiar settings, characters, and cities fans have only heard about.
🍻 For ale they ride. 🍻
— Critical Role (@CriticalRole) July 3, 2019
It gives off that feeling of a classic Dungeons and Dragons game. There’s a grotesque monster, family issues, plenty of ale, and wit. Speaking of jokes, one of the best things about the show is the cast’s use of comedic timing. While we get that in spades in the first issue, what we also find is a lot of emotion and heart, another facet of Critical Role and the community. These characters have only known each other a short while but they latch onto one another and form a bond. This may be in part due to the casts love for each other, the comic does a fantastic job at showing how each character came together and why they just can’t seem to part ways, aside from two of them.
We’re introduced to another party member as well, however, they do look a little different than the way they’re described on the show. All I can say is the cast did announce who it was in the past, but I won’t ruin the surprise here.
The story follows the group as they search for a missing member of their party, which seems to be a theme for Vox Machina (I’m looking at you, Bob). After a night of revelry, they wake up and begin their new quest. It’s this scene that you get a good feel for all of the characters. Keyleth awkwardly speaks to a merchant while Scanlan hits on a villager and the twins bicker and argue like normal. They eventually reach a new city and after a few successful Investigation checks, they learn to speak with a certain family in town.
Don't miss the @ForbiddenPlanet @JetpackComics exclusive @AnemoneTea variant of #CriticalRole: Vox Machina Origins series II #1! Kit Buss was the official portrait artist of @CriticalRole's first campaign. More info: https://t.co/5uu6XkLYFS pic.twitter.com/W2mboQLTep
— Dark Horse Comics (@DarkHorseComics) June 22, 2019
There’s also a keen amount of detail in the panels. During the show when a few characters are talking, you may notice other cast members mouthing words or making gestures during the conversation. There’s plenty of included fun gimmicks included in the pages as well. You can envision each cast member acting it out as their character would throughout the pages.
Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II is dark, gritty, and most of all lighthearted fun. If you start reading the first six issues now, you can finish in time to pick up the first issue of series two on July 10th.
Scott’s been gaming since he could hold a controller in his hands. He’s a journalist who loves Dungeons and Dragons, video games, tabletop RPGs, and comic books. He has an intelligence of 6, he knows what he’s doing.