Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It
Tini Howard (Writer), Marc Ellerby (Artist), Katy Farina (Colorist)
March 21, 2018
The Rick and Morty tie-in game Pocket Mortys hit mobile devices in 2016, but has had a surprisingly long … um, app store life for what’s basically a less complex Pokemon parody. The game has had significant expansions and new features added in the last two years. During the release of Rick and Morty’s third season, the game would put out new Mortys to collect which corresponded with the new episodes, a practice that still continues now that the season is over with new Mortys announced on the game’s delightfully misanthropic Twitter account.
So it was only natural to have a tie-in comic miniseries to the tie-in video game. To its credit, while Pocket Like You Stole It features many of the most prominent Mortys from the game—Mermaid Morty, One-Eyed Morty, that Morty holding the two cats, etc.—it for the most part eschews the game’s structure of a Rick collecting Mortys to fight in battles with other trainers (and other versions of himself). Instead, it tells the story of a Morty dodging Ricks who want to catch him and ultimately taking on the nefarious Council of Ricks himself.
Tini Howard was one of the writers on Boom! Studios’ Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Pink mini-series. I don’t know how much credit she can be given for the plot of the comic since she was the co-writer on the last half and the third-billed on the trade paperback, but one of the things I really dug about that series was how it really indulged a fan’s need to just see the heroine do cool stuff. This comic appeals to me in a similar way. I don’t think I knew before I read the book that I wanted to see Ricks being grown on a planet with a Pokemon everything-is-built-around-our-glorified-cockfighting economy and taking it over, or a Beth who takes alternate reality versions of her husband out of the Jerryborees and makes them fight in her own tournament, but I definitely do now!
Also, as loath as I am to be a reviewer swayed by references, I love how this comic decided that if putting Mortys in Pokemon were fun, seeing them in other caretaking games must be equally fun. So we get Mortys in Neko Atsume (run by a crazy cat-man Rick who tries to neuter the hero), Mortys in Farmville (run by a kombucha-drinking hippie Rick) and our hero Morty at one point being straight-up put into a hand-held Tamagotchi (which looks like an prison cell inside).
Marc Ellerby, a regular artist on the Rick and Morty comic series, continues to do great work here. His style doesn’t exactly match the show, but it’s close enough to bring it to mind. Plus, seeing all the big-eyed, colorful Mortys flail, scream and sweat their way through this trade paperback is a lot of fun. Katy Farina’s colors also make the art pop while having enough desaturation not to seem overly cute.
All in all, if you’re like me and anxiously watching whether or not the show will get renewed for a fourth season, Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It is an entertaining graphic novel to tide you over. It plays around with the concept of the video game without just replicating it, it has a lot of cool riffs on other mobile/casual games, it’s just on the side of Rick and Morty’s sick sense of humor without getting too bleak, and the art is unique but works for the series. Pick it up. Or as the Pocket Morty game Twitter would say, “Or don’t. Whatever. I don’t run your life.”