Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Vol. 1 Review

Created By: Matthew Mercer and the cast of Critical Role

Written By: Matthew Colville & Matthew Mercer

Illustrated By: Olivia Samson

Colours & Lettering By: Chris Northrop

Cover Artist: Stjepan Sejic

Published By: Dark Horse Comics


This volume contains the origin story of the band of heroes, known as Vox Machina. A group of mercenaries destined to save the World… eventually. Their paths align in the swamp town of Stilben, as they each arrive to either investigate the Curse, earn some coin or find their own feet as adventurers. Together they come across a common enemy that threatens not only the vulnerable in this village, but also seem to be behind this ‘curse’. And so begins the story of the legendary party of mercenaries, known as Vox Machina! As Dark Horse Comics brings the first Dungeons & Dragons campaign from the cast of Critical Role into the comic book universe!

This still may be a cliché market, but the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons has resurfaced once again in the last decade. This could be linked to several actors coming forward saying that they either have played or are still playing the iconic Tabletop game. With celebrities such as Matthew Lillard, Pendleton Ward, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Vin Diesel, Joe Manganiello and Will Wheaton naming just a few. The cast of Critical Role are proudly in and amongst those celebrities, as a group of Voice Actors gather together each Thursday night to play the game, led by their Dungeon Master: Matthew Mercer (Levi Ackerman in Attack On Titan). Following a short time of airing the games over on the Geek & Sundry channel, the group launched their own Twitch and YouTube channels in 2018 under the name Critical Role. This volume follows the beginning of their first campaign, with the name – Vox Machina. By converting the story they role played out each week, into a comic book format.


Throughout this volume, we meet six individuals of various races that will soon come together under one very unique party of adventurers. We begin with the twin half Elfs – Vax and Vex, who even throughout the entirety of this volume, is difficult to pinpoint their personalities completely. An intriguing pair, that although are regarded as High Born due to their father, are otherwise treated as dirt due to their Human mother. They have finished their schooling and are now on their own, trying to make a name for themselves and put their schooling to work to turn some coin. Next we have the Gnome Bard – Scanlan Shorthalt and his strong-armed, simple minded friend – Grog; a Goliath Barbarian. Next is another half Elven woman, named Keyleth, who is trained as a Druid and can cast a self transformation spell – to change into an animal, mostly for battle. Last but not least, we have a sorcerer and scholar in Tiberius Stormwind. A true Dragonborn, his appearance combines the best attributes of both dragons and humanoids. Making him a very striking character to look at and one you are sure not to forget. Altogether they each have their own distinct personalities, goals, values and life experiences, so I’m interested to see how exactly this party is going to develop enough to save the World.

So far in this retelling of the groups’ origin, we have seen some fighting amongst the soon to be party members. As each of them gets involved in amongst the mysterious circumstances surrounding the ‘curse’ of Stilben. With ambushes, assassination attempts, an abduction and arcane magic happening with each turn of the page, this series is far from short when it comes to action. It is certainly a page turner, and I audibly let out a massive sigh when I came to the final page. There is sure to be much more excitement and adventure to be had in Volume 2.


The plot, story direction and character designs all came from the minds of the cast of Critical Role, with DM Matt Mercer also involved in the writing for this volume, alongside Matthew Colville. We also have Olivia Samson as the official artist for both Volume 1 and 2 of the Vox Machina comic series. The news broke in 2017, that the Vox Machina campaign was to be released as a comic, in partnership with Dark Horse Comics, and here we are today with the complete Volume 1 and single issues of Volume 2 already available. You can buy the issues individually right now through their website, or as this complete volume.

Until Volume 2, I highly advise checking out the Critical Role live streams for Campaign 2 with The Mighty Nein, or catch up on all their old episodes starting with the Vox Machina campaign over on their YouTube channel in the link below.

Hope you all stay safe in the meantime fellow Critters’, and like Matt Mercer says, “Is it Thursday yet?”

Overall: 9/10


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