Rick and Morty Compendium Vol. 2

Writer / Artist
Rick and Morty Compendium Vol. 2
Rick and Morty Compendium Vol. 2 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Oni Press - 978-1-63715-430-4
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 2024
  • UPC: 9781637154304
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

More than any other creator it’s Kyle Starks who dominates this massive collection based on the hilarious and iconoclastic animated show.

Starks wasn’t seen in Compendium Vol. 1, so his series début is the opening ‘Br-Ricking Bad’ in which Rick’s income rises due to his new drug dealing career, his product sourced from alien creatures in another dimension, which is very good in isolation, especially for a first effort. However, it doesn’t hint at the consistency that follows as Starks writes all but one of the remaining tales. It’s no coincidence that the one he doesn’t write is the weakest, the pace glacial and some jokes forced in contrast to Starks being able to mimic the show’s almost ADHD switching from one topic to another, wacky creativity and massive density of jokes. He achieves this on strip after strip.

His absolute best here has Earth about to be invaded by extremely ferocious, yet strangely awkward aliens. When the President ignores Rick’s advice he makes the poor choice of taking Jerry along to negotiate. It’s gag-packed hilarity from the opening announcement through the switch to the Smith household arguments about cutting the lawn to the full page memorial on the final page. It matches the best of the TV show.

There is a weakness about Starks, though, and it’s his art being nowhere as polished as his writing (sample spread left). It’s flat and unimaginative, and on each of the three examples here the look detracts from scripts as good as those drawn by CJ Cannon and Marc Ellerby. Cannon is the primary artist (sample right), which won’t be the case in Compendium Volume Three, so admire him while you can. The look of the characters as per their animated versions is spot on, and he delivers the hilarity without overselling the jokes. So does Ellerby, but the charming shorts he produces are absent in this collection. Find them in the hardcover Book Three, or in the smaller Rick and Morty paperbacks Volume Four, Volume Five and Volume Six.

Starks apart, the big artistic departure is Benjamin Dewey, who distinguishes his cartooning from the remainder via watercolours rather than the bright, flat colours used on other strips. It’s on the one tale where Starks fails to hit the target, either introducing too much actual drama into the comedy or not enough jokes in following Beth’s traumatic day at work. It’s a worthwhile experiment, but not to be repeated.

Anyone who enjoys the Rick and Morty show can pick this up knowing the versions are faithful and the laughs will be had overall. Bring on Compendium Vol. 3.