Critical Role, a popular livestream that revolves around nerdy ass voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons, broke Kickstarter records on March 4th after successfully backing their $750,000 project in just thirty minutes. Since writing this article, funding has now surpassed $7 million. The project? An animated series centering on the colorful characters of the first campaign collectively known as Vox Machina.
This isn’t the only time Critical Role has successfully expanded their universe past their weekly livestreams. Given the success of the animated television series, we felt it only appropriate to take a look at their collaboration with Dark Horse comics, Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins.
First and foremost, if you haven’t had a chance to start watching the weekly livestream, you really should be. And, if you’re intimidated by the number of episodes dedicated to each campaign, this comic is the perfect starting point for you. Set before the events of the first recorded episode of campaign one, Vox Machina Origins is a classic “getting the band together” story. We are taken to the not-so-humble beginnings of core characters and how they came to know one another. It’s a fun ride from start to finish and that’s putting it mildly!
Set in the town of Stilben, Vax’Ildan and Vex’Ahlia, twin half-elves are investigating a supposed curse that is quickly wiping out the poor. As they seek to uncover the truth, they learn that there are others who are also interested in this mystery. Keyleth, a naive half-elf, and Tiberius Stormwind, an overtly polite dragonborn, have also been hired to discover the secret behind this tragedy. Meanwhile, Scanlan, the fun-loving, meta bard and his large, strong companion Grog have just raided a temple for treasure and are eager to find more. But, they’ll have to work together if they have any hope of saving the town…and getting paid.
This comic is charming and contains a great balance of humor, action, violence, and heart. As mentioned before, even if you aren’t familiar with Vox Machina, it’s easy to fall in love with these characters. They each have a distinct personality and play off of each other so well. And, for those who are familiar with these characters, it’s a great way to revisit them and learn more about their origins. While it is a bit disappointing that Percy and Pike are not a part of the group yet, this comic is still completely enjoyable.
The artwork brings the characters to life in a way audiences haven’t had the chance to experience yet. Consider this a precursor for what we can hope from the animated series. All the characters are filled with so much life in each panel it’s hard not to smile while reading this story. You’ll find yourself being swept away before you know it.
If there was ever a time to get into Critical Role, it’s now. And what better way than to cozy up with a fantastic graphic novel featuring beloved characters? There’s a reason why the Critical Role Kickstarter was met with such a huge success and this is the perfect way to find out why.
You can purchase your copy of Vox Machina Origins here!