Morty, attracted by all the girls talking about Dungeons & Dragons and the popular D&D podcasts, wants to get into the game to attract the ladies. He goes to a gaming store to buy D&D gear, and he meets a girl in need of another player. Morty has until Saturday to learn how to play the game if he wants to join. He goes to Rick for help, and, thankfully for Morty, Rick Sanchez is a Dungeons & Dragons aficionado.
So, it's worth mentioning that this is an official Dungeons & Dragons licensed story, and this is the first thing other than drinking and existential nihilism that Rick Sanchez has been unambiguously enthusiastic about (if you say Szechuan Sauce, I swear to God…).
The point I'm driving at is that this comic reads like a Rick and Morty-flavored advertisement for Dungeons & Dragons books. It celebrates the popularity of the game, references a few of the more popular podcasts like Critical Role and Adventure Zone, and it even shows much of the actual D&D books.
Hell, a part of the comic is just Morty playing the game with some of Rick's geriatric friends, one of which looks suspiciously like George R.R. Martin.
Plus, why would Rick Sanchez play D&D? He usually makes fun of nerd ephemera, and he spends his life trotting the multiverse while repeatedly pondering the minute insignificance of his own existence. It just doesn't gel for me as a character trait of his that I can believe.
I hate to say it, but this book reads like it's convincing me to play D&D. The problem is, I do (even though I haven't had a play group in far too long).
The final part of the comic is what you'd expect; Rick and Morty enter a virtual world to do actual dungeon-crawling. It's too little too late.
The other primary issue I've yet to mention is that this book has way too much dialogue for how little humor there actually is. Comedy is very subjective, but very few of the jokes land. Most are D&D jokes, which is to be expected. Few of them actually worked for me though. The rest are Rick and Morty in-jokes, and those have been played out across the internet far too often for me to laugh at them now.
Troy Little and Leonardo Ito succeed in making this look like Rick and Morty though. The artwork looks just like the show and conveys motion well in this non-animated medium. The color palette is off-beat and strange just like the show as well. The book looks good.
Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons #1 is a severely underwhelming experience. It plays out like a D&D ad with few jokes and far too slow a pace. The art is good, but that doesn't save the overall book. I can't recommend this one.