A genuinely funny comic, though it might be difficult to get into for those who don’t play the mobile game.
Rick and Morty isn’t just a highly successful TV show. It’s also been spun off into a popular mobile game and several comics. Now, even the spin-offs are getting spin-offs; Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It is inspired by the Pocket Mortys game, a parody of Pokémon. In the game, the player — who takes on the role of Rick — captures and fights different Mortys. The comic’s story, which is written by Tini Howard (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink) with art by Marc Ellerby (Rick and Morty: Lil’ Poopy Superstar; Rick and Morty), follows an escaped Morty who wishes to free himself and the other Mortys from the Ricks. Pocket Like You Stole It #1 is certainly a funny comic, but there are problems with the pacing in the first issue that have me wondering where the mini-series is going. Additionally, while the art is often the most entertaining part of the comic, there are a few places where it’s inconsistent, which can be jarring.
The Good: Funny and Dynamic
Howard’s dialogue really matches the iconic combination of crass, shocking, and intelligent that defines the show’s style of humor. She does a particularly good job with Ants In My Eyes Morty, who is so dense and one-noted that his constant repetition of the fact that he has ants in his eyes comes off just like it would if he was on the show. There are also several instances of cutaway gags and twists related to the main Mortys’ incompetence that make it hard not to laugh. While not every Morty gets a chance to speak or act, when they do, they always bring something funny to the table by through their slight variations.
As funny as the dialogue and plot are, much of the humor relies on Ellerby’s art, and he crafts some genuinely great sight gags. Ellerby draws little details — like toilet paper on Rick’s shoe, the reactions of various characters to Morty’s bumbling, and even the annoyed look on a squirrel’s face — that are tremendously funny. Each one livens up the action and exposition panels to the effect of yielding a comic that tries, and succeeds, to be funny at all times. Ellerby also injects a kineticism into the art through the use of speed lines and motion that help make the entire comic feel alive and active, like a cartoon.
The Bad: Where Are We Going With This Again?
There are issues with the comic’s pacing. Pocket Like You Stole It doesn’t give readers much indication as to where it’s going next and it blows through plot at a remarkable pace. While it’s clear that the series is going to feature Morty escaping from various Ricks, I’m not sure if that’s enough to be entertaining over several issues or if it will get repetitive.
There are also parts of the plot that are glossed over that really should be given more exploration. The beginning of the comic notes that it’s “day 14,” but it’s not yet clear what that means or how Morty got into the predicament we find him in. Later comics might answer that question, but it makes the start rather jarring. It’s not clear if Morty has previously escaped or if it’s been 14 days since he came to the world of Pocket Mortys.
Ellerby’s art is by no means perfect, and its problems come down to consistency. There are several scenes where it feels like details change between them. Even in the above panels of Morty jumping for the food, the perspective is quite off. While in the middle two panels, the snacks appear close to the ground, seemingly close enough that Morty could just grab them, they’re quite high off the ground in the final panel. The sequence is entertaining, but it doesn’t hold up to more scrutiny. That might be part of the joke; I just wish it was clearer.
Is It Good?
Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It is a solid comic with some great laughs. However, the series is probably more suited to people who have played the video game as opposed to those who haven’t.