RICK AND MORTY #29 looks like a normal episode of the show, but the characters don't feel as authentic and the plot line is fairly weak.
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RICK AND MORTY is famous for its dark and nihilistic comedy – often delivered in a nuanced way that avoids using absolutes. However, the strongest point of the show and the comedic style is the consistent and deep characterization of the title characters. Rick acts like he’s smarter and more capable than everyone else while being a nihilistic asshole that doesn’t care about the repercussions of his actions. On the other hand, Morty is naive and dimwitted, though as the series progresses, he becomes more jaded and experienced.

I bring all this up in relation to Oni Press’ RICK AND MORTY #29 because I have serious issues with the characterization. Sean Vanaman’s character writing seems to miss the point. Rather than trying to channel the personalities of Rick and Morty from the cartoon, he uses the two characters as mouthpieces for his political ideals. Personally, I agree with the anti-Nazi messages of the comic. That shouldn’t be a controversial opinion, but a lot of things don’t make sense in America right now. However, the way Vanaman wrote it doesn’t feel like authentic Rick and Morty.

Interdimensional Nazi Slaying

The story begins like a lot of the episodes — the Smith family arguing at the dining table, Rick using science to prove a point, and then dragging Morty on a wild adventure. In this case, Summer calls Jerry a “Hitler” because he wouldn’t let her go to a music festival. Rick then uses a ridiculous sci-fi device that displays a person’s total potential to become a Hitler.

Courtesy of Oni Press

READ: Interested in another RICK AND MORTY comic? Check out this review of volume 5!

The rest of the issue basically follows Morty on a transdimensional Hitler-killing spree while Rick chaperones (and derides) him. As with a lot of the episodes, the messages in the issue are generally liberal while being self-critical. For example, after Summer calls Jerry a Hitler, Rick interrupts and says not everyone you disagree with is a Hitler. Fair enough; I can agree with that. Additionally, RICK AND MORTY #29 ends with a really poignant visual of infinite Morties playing with his phone on the couch, waiting for an infinite number of other Morties to destroy infinite fascists. Now that actually felt like something Morty would do. However, there are two speech bubbles that don’t sound like they would come from the mouths of the characters at all.

A Hamfisted Message About Fascism

The first scene in RICK AND MORTY #29 that I had an issue with was when Rick and Morty arrived on an alternate Earth where “everything fascist is cranked to eleven.” Rick describes the centuries of income inequality and poverty, and the nearby war-torn planet full of refugees that caused the rise of fascism. I appreciate Rick’s description for what it’s worth. I like that someone is trying to be frank about how fascism rises in countries from Germany to America right now. However, this doesn’t feel like something Rick would say. This man destroys everything he touches. That includes planets full of innocents and an entire galactic federation. He wouldn’t give a shit about some fascists or refugees in one of an infinity of alternate realities. He didn’t even burp once while talking about this. His jaded sense of superiority was the only authentic thing that came out of his mouth.

Courtesy of Oni Press

The other scene, which was even more out of character, has Morty describing the difference between Communism and Fascism. It sounded like the writer copy and pasted something from Wikipedia and just put it in Morty’s speech bubble. I know it must be pretty hard to convey a character’s quirks in a different medium, but in this exchange, Morty didn’t sound like the stuttering dimwit that is literally his character description. There wasn’t even a joke afterward lampshading how out of character it was — just the writer trying to convey the ideological differences between the two political systems.

READ: Interested in the show behind the comic? Check out this analysis of RICK AND MORTY!

I can’t be completely negative here though. While Rick and Morty’s characterization was subpar, Jerry’s was perfect. After learning that he has a 48 percent propensity of becoming a Hitler, he lets it go to his head. He starts to believe he is this charismatic authoritarian leader, until being immediately shut down by his own family. Now that’s a Jerry moment. He attaches himself to anything that might make him special, even if it’s being Hitler. Then the savage shut down by the people that know him best brings him back to his sad reality.

Final Thoughts on RICK AND MORTY #29

I’ve got nothing in particular to say about the art, honestly. The illustrations by CJ Cannon successfully match the show’s aesthetic style and helps to hold together the weaker writing. The faces often look a tad off, but that’s normal for a licensed comic book. And I gotta admit, the planet of super fascists, where everyone had a Hitler mustache, was pretty funny.

RICK AND MORTY #29 isn’t the greatest comic I’ve read. And I can’t really give it a pass just because I align with the political messages. The most important thing for a licensed adaptation is to either match the original as closely as possible or to set itself apart in an original manner. This issue simply doesn’t prove itself to the source material. Hardcore fans of RICK AND MORTY will no doubt have similar issues to mine. Maybe skip this issue unless you’re really craving more RICK AND MORTY.

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