Kate O'neil's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: The Fandom Post Reviews: 13
7.5Avg. Review Rating

6
Critical Role: Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #1

Oct 20, 2021

The Bright Queen issue 1 begins telling a new story set in the now official Critical Role D&D setting on Exandria. The Bright Queen is one of the more interesting characters from the campaign, a reincarnated ruler fronting a holy dynasty. Some of the confusion about time and place would have been alleviated with a dialog box or two telling us the year or if the events with the elder and youth were concurrent with the mission happening or post-mission consequences. This is inevitably going to be a mini-series that reads best as a complete whole. This issue ends just before everything is about to kick off. I love me some derpy murder kitties though, more moorbounders, please.

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8
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins III #1

Feb 10, 2021

Vox Machina is off on yet another adventure, but this one is a bit closer to civilization. Everyone loves a good bar fight and tournament arc! The series still feels like it is mainly by fans and for fans of Critical Role or Dungeons & Dragons. While I still think this format is a bit restricting for what is a sprawling epic, it navigates the condensed page count while managing to maintain the character of this specific world of high fantasy.

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8
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins II #1

Jul 10, 2019

In Summary Vox Machina returns for a tale which shall bring the group together to save one of their own. If you are new to Critical Role Campaign 1 then you should start with the first mini-series. Existing fans waiting for the debut of the other two main members of Vox Machina can jump in right here. Thisvolume is delightful and I'm confident that Houser has the chops to do this part of Vox Machina's story justice. Of course, the problem with floppies is that the story barely gets going before we have to wait for the next issue. And I do want to get to the next issue, because I really want to see this adventure play out.

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8
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins II #2

Aug 14, 2019

With a new friend made, Vox Machina heads out to rescue their goliath friend from evil. Yet many questions still remain as to why he was targeted in the first place. Why target a dead goliath, and what brought Grog's father to that cave to begin with? When dealing with the undead you really can't be sure. The ominous foreshadowing of not all being right with their recovered friend means that the adventure will continue.

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8
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins III #3

Aug 24, 2021

It might be the heart of summer but it's ice all the way down in Emon. Once again the situation had turned personal for Vox Machina as an icy witch curses the city and turns a festival crowd into icy sculptures. This series remains a strictly-for-fans endeavor as side characters aren't even named in this volume, expecting the reader to fill in the blanks. This is a problem when the tension is non-existent because fans know there's no real danger here. The action is adequate but not very gripping, and the coloring is just there doing its job. I'm hoping the battle in the next issue is a bit meatier.

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8
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins II #3

Sep 18, 2019

In SummaryGrog isn't out of the woods yet. While Vox Machina struggles to find someone to help them an offer of suspicious help arrives. This issue isn't as punchy as the previous two in this story arc, but it's fun to see familiar places and people realized for the page. (And the start of a certain running gag that I was shocked made it in.) I'm excited about the next volume though, where we should finally be introduced to the last major member of the group.

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8
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins II #4

Dec 18, 2019

Team nymph heart departs for a frozen wood to hunt a nymph. Yet despite the dangers of the woods, the solution to every problem isn't always an ax to a skull. Sometimes an offered hand is the greatest solution to a tricky situation. I wish this story had more time to tell itself, but that might just be because I'm so used to the long form of the podcast which has more storytelling than the longest novels. It's still enjoyable, if brief, read.

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8
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins III #4

Nov 3, 2021

The face-off against the white dragon is a quick little jaunt, full of pithy one-liners and punchy hits. While a white dragon should have been more than a match for the adventurer party, they're lucky she wasn't at full strength. A few good hits take out the dragon, but she's likely not the one who was calling the shots. After all, white dragons are not supposed to be the cleverest dragons. For the time being the town, and Vax, are safe. Whoever set up Eskil to take the fall is still out there, and Eskil's name needs clearing. I'm left wondering where this story arc is going to lead Vox Machina next.

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8
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins II #5

Feb 19, 2020

This mini-adventure inside this longer adventure feels less dangerous and daring than the previous issue. The cultists seem woefully underprepared and more bumbling than threatening. The group was lucky they were able to retrieve what they came for. What the reader came for is an introduction to Percy, who enters the story by bargaining with the party to let free and wields the only handgun known to exist in the world. Plenty of teases and nods for a Critical Role fan, but rather flat as a standalone chapter in this story. It's still a lot of story to cram into a single issue and I'm a bit worried at how they'll tie up the story arc in the next issue.

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6
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins III #6

May 18, 2022

I knew there was no satisfactory way to end a story arc that had no end. So Vox Machina Origins doesn't attempt to. This issue is intended to roll along directly into the next mini-series and makes no concessions that previous issues might have to crush the story to fit the page count. I had been saying that comics are perhaps the worst way to adapt the story, with the novel and animated series handling events in a far more fluid and entertaining way. If this means that going forward the comic will be able to pace things more appropriately without trying to hit a page count I am all for it. Yet the change in direction means this particular issue is a lot of talking and absolutely no action.

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7
Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins II #6

Jun 3, 2020

I still don't feel that the short-form storytelling works particularly well for a story that had its origins in one of the longest forms of collective storytelling. This adaptation does well enough to compress and condense the narrative into bite-sized chunks, but it all passes much too fast. I feel like the adventure is over before it even gets a chance to start.

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9
Farlaine the Goblin: The Final Land #7

Sep 6, 2018

Farlaine the Goblin finally reaches the end of his journey. Sometimes you find a home and sometimes home finds you. A touching conclusion to the story of a goblin, his tree, and their robot friend. The whole series has been a light, delightful read and it's a great all-ages story that younger readers should especially enjoy. It's clever enough that older readers can stay engaged with its snappy dialog and clean, lively artwork.

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5
Last Stop on the Red Line #1

May 15, 2019

What the Last Stop of the Red Line wants to be is a question I'm left asking. A pastiche of imagery which draws from the horrors that have called Boston home, from the stories of Lovecraft to the Boston Strangler, to the racial violence to the Marathon bombing. Yet it has no voice of its own and doesn't even draw on its inspiration particularly well. The comic format doesn't give the story room to breath, there is no tension in the horror. The artwork is serviceable and some panels truly impressive, but it feels at odds with the story at large. This is just the first issue of a four-part series, and there's still time for the story to find itself, but for now, the readers are left with questions and a vague, lingering sense to not ride a subway car alone.

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