Rick and Morty Presents The Vindicators #1
J. Torres (Writer), CJ Cannon (Art), Nick Filardi (Colors), Crank! (Letters)
March 7 2018
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this issue. I’ve watched Rick and Morty on Adult Swim and found it amusing, but never read the comic before. How close would it be to the cartoon? Could it successfully pull off a superhero event parody without being tired? Would it have some originality or be pure fan service? With the whole McDonalds Mulan Szechuan Sauce debacle last October (there are still limited edition packets being sold on eBay for upwards of $300) and the recent merchandising boom, one wonders how long the franchise can go before becoming too licensed and popular for its own good.
Before digging in to this issue I consulted my teenager, an avid Rick and Morty fan and comic book reader, and was assured that according to sources (which are mostly other teenagers) the creative team on it is excellent. J. Torres is well known for his work on Teen Titans GO! and various other DC and Marvel titles, so he is no stranger to the Big Two and superhero events. CJ Cannon has been on the series with J. Torres since the first issue. Nick Filardi has worked on titles that include Batman, Deadpool, X-Men, and Bitch Planet. Crank! whose name includes punctuation, has done lettering for Rick and Morty, Hack/Slash, and Revival.
The premise of the book is a parody of all the big superhero events that seem to have taken over the Big Two. This is blatantly stated with a sarcastic tongue-in-cheek commentary by Rick Sanchez. Despite Rick’s protests Morty, the ever-enthusiastic fan-boy, jumps right into an adventure with his favorite terrible superheroes. The story is packed full of comics, movie, and pop culture references and will probably take the reader a few read-throughs to catch all of them. I won’t get into any of those until further down to prevent spoilers for those who prefer to read it for themselves first, but if anyone finds more than what I’ve listed let us know in the comments!
The Vindicators are a team of mostly incompetent superheroes that poke fun at DC and Marvel style characters. The team includes Vance Maximus (every egotistical macho dude-bro superhero rolled into one character), Supernova (a mystic cosmic being with anger management issues), Alan Rails (a moody hero with a tragic backstory involving trains), Million Ants (made of a million ants), and Crocubot (a crocodile cyborg with no obvious superpowers). Their symbol is a V over a crosshair which resembles an upside-down version of the A symbol for The Avengers. This completes their look as discount superheroes. According to rickandmorty.wikia.com, they first appeared in Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender which is a half superhero team and half Saw parody. By the end of the episode, all of the Vindicators but Supernova are killed off. This comes up again in the comic.
- This issue has enough comics, movies, and pop culture references to keep any nerd busy looking for them all
- The art is appealing and captures the spirit of the cartoon
- An ECCC exclusive variant cover by Jen Bartel
- For those who enjoy Rick and Morty’s twisted and often adolescent brand of humor, there is plenty of that in here
- If you don’t enjoy the cartoon, this book will probably not appeal to you
- If you want the Jenn Bartel variant cover, you’ll have to either go to ECCC or find someone going who can get one for you
- The killing off (again) of the Vindicators one by one, although making its point about mainstream superheroes rarely staying dead, gets a little old
- If it were a movie, it would fail the Bechdel test miserably, but maybe that’s part of the joke
- You’ll either love it or hate it. There’s no in between.
Don’t read below this line until you’ve read the issue if you want to spot the references yourself!
As promised here’s some of the many comics, movie, and pop culture references in this book:
- The comic starts with the “new and improved” Vindicators asking for Rick and Morty’s help to defeat a powerful new villain. Their new, barely improved look mirrors many of the superhero rebirth events that the Big Two seem so fond of.
- An entire page dedicated to balls jokes and reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z’s search for all of the balls.
- They are called Infinity Balls like the Infinity Stones in the Marvel universe.
- A gang of post-apocalyptic Mad Max style bikers who destroy Million Ants, the first hero victim.
- Rick later says the danger of being around him is the price of “rolling with Rick” which is a word play on Rick Rolling.
- A poke at Ryan Reynolds dying as Green Lantern (DC) and coming back as Deadpool (Marvel).
- A disillusioned Morty says “We don’t need another hero. We just need to know the way home” which makes another Mad Max reference.
- Rick calls the group a “Suicide Squad”
- The teaming up with antiheroes to defeat the supervillain trope
- A rebirthed Pickle Rick is basically Groot
- Supernova, as the female superhero, becomes the cliché feminine voice of reason stopping the men from fighting and starting a “Civil War” (another Avengers reference).
- The second anti-hero is Scary Terry who is a reformed supervillain and a parody of Freddy Krueger.
- Scary Terry puts on an eye patch calls himself Scarepool, a nod to anti-heroes Nick Fury and Deadpool.
- The supervillain turns out to be the ignored and abused Noob-Noob like many other allies turned supervillains (think The Riddler)
- Boon (formerly Noob-Noob) wears a single white glove bejeweled with Infinity Balls Michael Jackson style
- Vance Maximus says “You wanna be starting something. You got to be starting something..” from Thriller (see above) … who then challenges Boon to a dance off like Star Lord in the first GOTG and then becomes the third Vindicator to die
- Rick pokes fun at the Archies/Ramones and TMNT/X-Files crossover
And there you have it! A Rick and Morty Vindicators Superhero Event of a Superhero Event.