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

The legendary (at least, in the future) adventuring group known as Vox Machina has returned as they continue their early misadventures. In this penultimate issue, the team continues to unravel a mystery in the city of Westruun -- a mystery that features an old ally, a false imprisonment, and a mighty dragon. After the group dealt with the ancient being in the last issue, they now face an utterly less terrifying, but still important, task: freeing Realmseer Eskil Ryndarien from prison after being blamed for the attack by the mighty dragon Skysunder. This leads to some challenges, as one member of the crew will have to re-open an old wound to find information, something that not even the members of the team they are closest with know much about.

This story shouldn’t be terribly familiar to fans of the show, as we’re still in the times before Critical Role proper began. But these stories are frequently spoken of, and events from prior to these adventures are coming up as a part of this journey. Bringing all of these past events and the early days of the party are wildly fun, as we see the hailed heroes known as Vox Machina in the days when they were more likely to get themselves killed doing something stupid than do anything helpful for anyone. It’s especially nice seeing beloved side characters, such as Pike’s grandfather Wilhand, make an appearance.

When you pair a world-building master with a talented writer, you know it’s going to be amazing, and the pairing of Jody Houser and Matthew Mercer has been a terrific fit for the entirety of this series. The two have really brought this story to life, bringing the world of Tal’Dorei into a more visual medium seamlessly. This writing team really has the voices of the characters down and are crafting a wonderful story.

This is a comic book, though, and a comic wouldn’t be complete without the visual storytellers that join the writing team. So far, this has been artist Olivia Samson, who is joined by colorist Diana Sousa and long-time letterer Ariana Maher. Samson’s work throughout this series has been brilliant, and she doesn’t disappoint in this issue, especially when it comes to some of the more unseen parts of Emon. The characters look fantastic, the world is incredibly built, and the entire team has done a great job of building a representation of this world in a new medium. I love series like this, because they continue to build the greater world, allowing for breathing room in a world that has so much to offer.

Overall, this has been a wonderful series, and a great look back into the world of Tal’Dorei and to Vox Machina. With the finale coming, it will be interesting to see how this story ends, something that really only Mercer, those working on this series, and the cast know for sure.


Creative Team: Matthew Mercer, Jody Houser (writers), Olivia Samson (artist), Diana Sousa (colorist), Ariana Maher (letterer)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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