For the last 8 months, I’ve written a few posts on the comic book site, “Comicdom Wrecks”. A lot of my posts come from my lack of comic reading or knowledge: one of the founders of the blog would give me a book or 2 (or series) to read for the first time and I’d write a review on it.
This time, I actually did a thing: I bought a comic book for myself! Actually, a digital, comic book series! The series is “Vox Machina: Origins”, a six-book series that’s based on the “Geek & Sundry” D&D podcast, Critical Role. “Vox Machina” is the adventuring group from the podcast but in the comic series, they have not met and formed the group.
Here is a copy of my post about Issue #1, with links to reviews for Issues #2 – #6. Enjoy!
Story: Matthew Colville & Matthew Mercer
Art: Olivia Samson
Colors and Lettering: Chris Northrop
Publisher: Mike Richardson
“They will save the world…. Eventually.”
Those words begin the 6-issue story of how Vox Machina met and formed, before becoming the world-saving force of Critical Role’s First Season. This issue focuses on 2 of the members: the Half-Elven twins, Vex’alia (“Vex”) and her brother, Vax’ildan (“Vax”).
We meet Vex (a Ranger) and Vax (a Rogue) for the first time in a desolate swamp; before we actually see them, we look in on a woman, nursing a sick, almost drugged-looking baby. An old woman is standing over her shoulder, yelling that her baby is most certainly not fine – “it’s cursed, just like all the others”. Before she can get a word in edge-wise, the baby is yanked from her arms (while her husband – I think – restrains her) and thrown in the swamp, where a pair of hands emerge from the murky waters and grab it and pull it under! What a “start” to the story!
I thought that that tree pictured above ate the baby; instead, that’s where Vex and Vax were hiding, watching the whole incident take place. Vax, not happy being out in the open after that incident (and I don’t blame him!), revealed that the 2 people with the woman were her parents; he wants to talk to them, Vex wants to track them back to their home, first. Their home is Stilben, on the coast of Tal’Dorel.
As they track the couple, we get a glimpse into the relationship of Vex and Vax, as well as their reasons for being there, mainly through their squabbling. They are there to solve the mystery of the “cursed” swamp (Vax believes in the curse, Vex is very skeptical). Someone (not revealed immediately) is paying them for this mission.
Vax notices that the swamp is saltwater, prompting Vex to yell for him to get out of the wa –
Too late! Vax gets snatched under!
… then explodes out of the water, in the mouth of a giant shark, ridden by a… fish-man??
Shark mount was defeated, via an arrow in the eye from Vex. The fish-dude was defeated, via a cut throat from Vax. Vax took a bit of a beating in that fight; while a concerned Vex took care of his wounds, a squirrel walked closed to Vax… and waved. That friendly squirrel was everyone’s favorite Druid, Keyleth:
Keyleth heals Vax’s wounds and proceeds to have some pretty awkward moments with the twins, including:
- Vax sputtering at Keyleth, since he’d never seen another half-elf before
- Keyleth not understanding some of the derogatory slang that half-elves are called
- Vex being irritated at everyone, about nearly everything
Keyleth reveals that she’s also investigating the swamp. However, she (after drinking the water) concludes that the swamp is not cursed: it’s poisoned. Vex shepherds Vax towards town, while the twins say farewell to Keyleth.
In town, the twins meet up the father(?) of the woman from the beginning, alerting him that the swamp was poisoned. He informs them that the woman died and was buried. He also throws out an important tidbit that I missed originally: the person that said that the swamp was cursed was the town’s alchemist, Zeth. Vex and Vax were paid 13 gold for the job; Vex is equal parts miffed and disgusted by the paltry amount, but Vax was equal parts miffed and disgusted by Vex’s reaction: “But to these people, 13 gold was all they had… they paid us everything.”
The twins arrive at Zeth’s shop. Vex gets a little seductive (opening her cloak and shirt just a little wider) to get answers from Zeth, regarding poisons; Zeth wasn’t biting.
Instead, he went to his supplier, tailed by the twins. When he got there, his supplier informed him that he was followed and she “would take care of everything”. Uh oh.
Back outside, Vex and Vax plan their next move… until they are ambushed from the rooftops (archers) and the ground (assassins)! This leads to a multi-page fight, with Vex matching the archers with a more lethal volley of her own, while Vax took care of the street-level enemies. Vex’s near-boredom of the early pages is now gone: “this was a hit. No questions asked. No quarter given”, according to Vax. They both want to talk to this alchemist now, but going back to his shop would either lead to an empty shop or a fight that they couldn’t win without help. With few options for leads and no allies available, Vax pops an interesting question on the final page of the book:
I really like the start of this series! This issue wasn’t jam-packed with dialogue, which is a turn off for me. There was a good balance between art and dialogue. There were also a lot of panels per page; on average, there were probably 4 panels/page, with very few all-page panels. This isn’t a good or bad thing, it’s just something that caught my novice eyes. All in all, it was a good start to the “prequel” story of Vox Machina!
Issue #2: LINK
Issue #3: LINK
Issue #4: LINK
Issue #5: LINK
Issue #6: LINK