Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #1

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #1
The cover art, by Fiona Staples, featuring Grog Strongjaw.[1]
SeriesVox Machina Origins Series II[1]
Issue number1[1]
Creative team
ArtistOlivia Samson[1]
LettererAriana Maher[1]
Cover artistFiona Staples
Publication information
PublisherDark Horse Comics[1]
Publication dateJuly 10, 2019[1]
Page count24[3]
Preceded byCritical Role: Vox Machina Origins #6[5]
Followed byCritical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #2[6]

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #1 is the seventh issue of Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins and the first issue of Vox Machina Origins Series II. It was written by Jody Houser, art produced by Olivia Samson, lettered by Ariana Maher, and the cover art was produced by Fiona Staples. The issue was published by Dark Horse Comics on June 19, 2019.

Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]

The unlikely heroes of Vox Machina are back in action!

Join familiar faces from Critical Role's smash-hit first campaign as their escapades in Stilben lead them toward new adventure--and a dire threat to Grog when he goes missing in the night. Tracking him down will see the party lose one member, gain another, and reveal parts of Grog's secret past. But first, his friends have to actually find him.

From award-nominated writer Jody Houser (Orphan Black, Stranger Things) and first series artist Olivia Samson, with colorist MSASSYK (Isola, Gotham Academy) and letterer Ariana Maher (James Bond, Xena)!

— Publisher's summary[4]

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Fighting the fetus[edit | edit source]

In the K'Tawl Swamp outside of Stilben, the newly-formed Vox Machina, consisting of Grog Strongjaw, Keyleth, Scanlan Shorthalt, Tiberius Stormwind, Trinket, Vax'ildan, and Vex'ahlia, is in the middle of fighting Crysa-Thul. Scanlan remarks that the fetal deity is "lookin' pretty rough" and Grog adds that it will look much worse after the fight. Vex names the finishing of the creature in the name of Stilben, to which Vex adds the meager amount of money to kill it. Scanlan shouts at Crysa-Thul, claiming to have made feces more frightening than it, distracting Crysa-Thul, who recoils in disgust at the insult. This distraction allows Vox Machina to unleash their final assault upon the creature as Vex launched numerous arrows and Keyleth restrains it several vines before Grog swings his greataxe across its abdomen, killing it.

Crysa-Thul begins to sink into the ground as its black blood is spilled everywhere, some of which gets onto Keyleth, causing the druid to react with disgust. In a nearby tree, Vex jokingly asks her to search for valuables while she "plays" with the blood.

Tavern celebration[edit | edit source]

Back in town, the party is celebrating at The Gold Leaf Inn. As Grog orders more ale from a barmaid, Scanlan comments on how they are living a good life, mentioning how they have been able to kill creatures for money, learn their boss's true intentions, and subsequently extort him for more money and spend it on alcohol and "delicious company". Grog, about to respond to Scanlan, is interrupted by something abruptly zapping through his head as he sees a vision of his father, Stonejaw Strongjaw.

Keyleth, confused by Scanlan's remark, asks if they are not enough "company", to which Vex denies explaining to her the bard's wording. At that moment, the barmaid returns with three mugs of ale. Scanlan, initially ogling the barmaid, notices that Grog has not reacted to the ale and is simply staring into space with an empty expression on his face. He tries waving his hands in front of the goliath and threatens to drink Grog's ale, to no avail. Keyleth asks if something is wrong, to which Scanlan jokes that Grog might be dead, only to be met with shocked silence by the rest of the party. At that moment, Grog snaps back to reality and asks Scanlan why is he touching his drink. A relieved Scanlan asks what happened, and Grog, scratching his head, claims that he was thinking. Scanlan comments that that was the source of Grog's problem, and Vex jokingly warns Grog not to hurt himself. Grog, however, only plays with his drink in silence.

The missing goliath[edit | edit source]

That night, in their room at the inn, the party is sleeping soundly. Vex and Vax share a bed, at the foot of which sleeps Scanlan, and Tiberius sleeps in his own bed with Keyleth on the floor next to him. Grog, also on the floor, has another vision as he sleeps. He sees a dilapidated corridor with partially melted, unlit candles. As the candles are suddenly lit, the window curtains are suddenly swept in a breeze that sweeps through the corridor. A figure appears, obscured by the curtains, but the figure is shown to be Stonejaw Strongjaw, who says Grog's name multiple times while extending a hand. This snaps the goliath awake, who quietly asks "Father?". He gets up and passes by a sleeping Scanlan — who is in the middle of a dream involving a threesome as he hugs his lute — before grabbing his greataxe and silently leaving.

The next morning, the party is eating breakfast. Keyleth, enjoying her meal, comments on how beautiful the day is. Vex, Vax, and Scanlan are all suffering from a hangover; an annoyed Vex quietly expresses a desire to shoot the druid with an arrow, to which Vax tells her not to. Meanwhile, Scanlan simply hides his head in the table, rhetorically asking why everything hurts so much. Keyleth, noticing that Tiberius has hardly looked up from his book, asks if he found anything interesting. Tiberius, confirming such, proceeds to talk with Keyleth about how he believes that he is much closer in proximity to a historical site mentioned in one of his books, but most of the conversation is barely registered by Vex, who tries pulling out an arrow before she is again stopped by Vax.

At that moment, the barmaid brings them beverages intended to help them with their hangover and asks if Grog is still in bed. The party realizes that Grog is missing — although Tiberius had noticed more leftover meat than usual. Vex asks Scanlan if he had seen Grog that morning, which Scanlan denies. A confused Vex asks how he could have possibly missed him, to which an unamused Scanlan explains that he takes his sleep rather seriously as it helps his appearance and admits that he had too much to drink the night prior. Vax recalls Grog's earlier strange behavior and Keyleth adds that he did not even finish his ale. The party all look at each other in silence before Scanlan gets up, suggesting that they should ask around town. Keyleth hopes that someone saw him, and Vex adds that, as a goliath, Grog should not be hard to find.

Asking around Stilben[edit | edit source]

The party proceeds to ask around town. Tiberius launches into his usual greeting to an older woman that was in the middle of filling a cart with books with her company. Momentarily distracted by their possible possession of an Osiun Codex, he proceeds to ask about Grog. Elsewhere, Scanlan talks to two prostitutes at a brothel about Grog, describing him as a best friend the most heroic man they would ever meet, second to himself. In the marketplace, Keyleth explains to a vendor that Grog is missing, before nervously backtracking, clarifying that she was not intending to accuse the merchant of a potential kidnapping, and offering to leave or buy something.

Meanwhile, the twins ask a guard if they had recently seen an axe-wielding goliath. The guard explains that he saw one leaving town on the Silvercut Roadway just before that dawn, heading northwest, likely for Westruun. A second guard crosses their arms and adds that Grog had stolen a horse from the livery. The guard asks if Grog is a friend of theirs, which the twins deny, claiming that the goliath owes them money and they are actually hunting him down. The first guard warns the twins to be careful, adding that Grog did not look like someone to mess with.

Leaving for Westruun[edit | edit source]

Reconvening back in town, Scanlan wants to go after Grog and asks the rest of the party if they will as well. Keyleth accepts, explaining that she has little reason to stay in Stilben, and she needs to travel for her Aramenté. The twins agree; Vax comments that he is getting tired of Stilben, and Vex notes that operating as a group has been paying well. Unfortunately, Tiberius, through some initial awkward stuttering, explains that between his reading the night prior and the travelers he encountered when asking around town, it seems that his personal research leads him to the Ashen Gorge, which, as Keyleth notes, is in the opposite direction of Westruun. He bids the party farewell, hoping their paths cross again in the future after he finishes his business south and adds that he has enjoyed their company, and hesitantly leaves. After he is gone, Vex solemnly jokes that it is cheaper to rent four horses than five. Vax and Scanlan give her crossed expressions, to which she defends herself by claiming that someone has to be practical.

The party goes to Stilben's livery, rents four horses, and spends the rest of the day traveling west. They make camp for the night before setting out the following morning, soon reaching Westruun.

In town, Scanlan approaches a woman, grandiosely greeting her as "oh, fairest maid" and asking if she can assist them in finding a "most cherished friend" they believe was in the area. Vex and Vax explain that their friend is an axe-wielding goliath who likes ale. The woman denies having seen any goliaths in town recently but explains that one used to live with some gnomes that live atop a nearby hill who can maybe help. Scanlan thanks the woman, adding that her graciousness is matched only by her beauty and that he considered himself personally in her debt, and blows her a kiss as he and the party leave for the hill. Keyleth comments that the woman was nice, to which Vex expresses doubt that her "niceness" was the reason Scanlan wanted to talk to her.

Meeting the Trickfoots[edit | edit source]

Arriving at the house, Scanlan knocks on the door and instructs the rest of the party to leave the talking, to a fellow gnome, to him. A black-haired female gnome with a symbol of Sarenrae around her neck opens the door, greets Scanlan and asks if she can help him. Scanlan finds himself unable to talk, prompting Vex to dryly tease him. Keyleth answers, explaining that they in search of Grog; the gnome recognizes the name.

Inside, the gnome introduces herself as Pike Trickfoot and her great-great-grandfather Wilhand Trickfoot, to whom she introduces the party as friends of Grog. Wilhand, preparing tea for his guests, remembers Grog, recalling his size and how he once saved his life. Scanlan poses shock at the fact that Grog never mentioned him and the rest of the party to the Trickfoots, claiming to be Grog's best friend. Pike explains that she has been friends with Grog since childhood, but it has been a while since she has seen him. She asks how Grog is doing and if he is with them. Keyleth and Vax explain that Grog has gone missing and they traveled there to look for him. Vex adds that Grog had left in the middle of the night without a word to anyone and asks Pike if she knows anything. Pike denies knowledge of Grog's whereabouts but offers a way to find out.

As Wilhand and the party watch, Pike lights several candles, burns incense in a censer, and places several coins around a small bundle of flowers on a table. Sitting in front of it and clutching her holy symbol, Pike sees a dark vision of Gatshadow Mountain as dark clouds swirl around its peak. A shocked Pike is met with Vax and Scanlan, who ask what she saw and if Grog is alright. Pike turns around and solemnly reveals that, if Grog is indeed headed where she saw, he is in danger.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Returning[edit | edit source]

New[edit | edit source]

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #1 was revealed on March 11, 2019, on, where it was announced that Dark Horse Comics would be publishing six new issues, digitally and — for the first time — physically through comic retailers, as part of Vox Machina Origins Series II. The first issue of the new series was published on July 10, 2019, and the collected vollume of Vox Machina Origins II was published on August 12, 2020. Olivia Samson returned to produce the art for the series and Jody Houser as the writer, MSASSYK as the colorist, and Fiona Staples as the first issue's cover art. Set immediately after the first series, the issue continued the story of Vox Machina's early adventures.[1]

When working on this issue, the comic's letterer, Ariana Maher, used Blambot's "Ready for Anything" font.[7]

Creative team[edit | edit source]

Media[edit | edit source]

Editions[edit | edit source]

UPC Released Publisher Format Price Ref.
76156800497700111 July 10, 2019 Dark Horse Comics Comic book $3.99 [4]
July 10, 2019 Dark Horse Comics Digital $3.99 [3]

Cover gallery[edit | edit source]

Collections[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]