Guestwriter: Jeff Aultman
Writers: Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Zub
Colorist: Leonardo Ito
Things are certainly getting schwifty in the realm of Faerun, and certainly not because of a new DM’s homebrew campaign, dungeoneers! Rick Sanchez is the new dungeon master, and he is out to get things done at Morty’s expense though feigns the intent of helping him becoming a better D&D player. Last time we found Morty not having so good a time trying to get immersed into the legendary adventure, though it could be argued that Rick certainly didn’t make it easy for him. And when that sword came piercing through the latter while an army of undead was on the move, you know that things were about to get real.
Now we add Beth and Summer to the picture to make the story even more complicated. Neither have a deep appreciation for the game nor possess a sharp understanding of its mechanics yet find themselves embroiled in new quests along with Rick and Morty. Suffice it to say its time to roll for initiative when, of all things, Beth becomes a fighter from her wish to drink alcohol and smash things while summer takes the dark route and becomes a rogue. Morty changes class from paladin to a cleric while Rick continues to go the safe way and remain a wizard.
They go on for adventures within Undermountain and get plenty of loot until the others begin to get bored of the constant grind and eventually part ways from Rick and let him have all the glory. Tension mounts between Rick and Beth over how they should be spending their time in this simulated fantasy reality. That is until it is all brought to an abrupt end by a sad and lonely character we all know too easily yet hesitate to name.
This issue’s greatest asset can be summed up in one word: nostalgia. Rick and company’s adventures in Faerun detail a basic who’s who and what’s what of some of D&D’s greatest concepts and timeless legacies. They are as direct and forward as Rick’s reference to Greyhawk and Waterdeep or as symbolic and implied as the scenery and characters covered. It is a simplistic ride down memory lane for all that have loved D&D’s impact over its forty-five years of existence yet is defined in a very Adult Swim sort of way.
And with all great comic stories, there is indeed a lesson to be learned when one reads between the lines. It was subtly hinted at in the first issue but becomes more profound when Beth and Rick have their bickering over what they should be doing in the game as opposed to what they want to do. And I believe the real message compels the reader to consider something…why do any of us even bother to engage in the tabletop activity that is D&D? While I cannot go into details here and spoil the narrative for you, the very argument between these two forces the reader to come to terms with why D&D continues to garner such popularity in the public eye and, furthermore, what brings us together in wanting to play the RPG at all.
This issue effectively does a sensational job of providing both sentimentality for a classic game while encouraging our collective memory to evaluate what the importance of the game is to us. Both fans and casual readers will enjoy the references and nuances. The artwork is solid and the narrative is constantly evolving in ways to capture our imagination. So, sit back, enjoy the adventures and wubba lubba dub dub!