In true Rick and Morty form, when the intergalactic duo are thrust into a Fortnite-style battle royale, it’s actually called a “Battle Rickale” and it’s a much more accurate representation about what it means for 100 people to battle to the death.
The latest Rick and Morty comic from Oni Press hit shelves on Wednesday, and in it, the pair struggles against enemy combatants in a grueling battle royale with a transformative twist. Hunger Games gets mired in teen romance melodrama and Fortnite’s violence is toned down by cartoonish graphics and cartoonish building mechanics. But this Rick and Morty comic hones in on the brutal reality of this conceit and the emotional trauma of fighting to the death.
Don’t worry, though, because there’s also plenty of meta, Rick Sanchez ridiculousness that recycles the “joke” of Pickle Rick.
For fans of the show that love both Fortnite and Pickle Rick, this story is a dream, because Rick’s “secret weapon” is something called the “Transformatron.” With the same syringes he used in the “Pickle Rick” episode, the scientist can transform into any innocuous object, making himself into a fun-loving distraction who helps Morty do all the killing.
Pizza Rick, Stovetop Rick, Donut Rick, Plumbus Rick, they’re all here!
Written by Kyle Starks, illustrated by Marc Ellerby, and colored by Sarah Stern, Rick and Morty #40 includes “Battle Rickale” and also a story called “Morty Court.”
Admittedly, the former feels like something much closer to Hunger Games than it does Fortnite, but the comparison to the uber-popular game holds, especially when Morty activates a spike trap to take down an enemy.
Warning: It’s much more gruesom than Fortnite will ever be.
The whole thing takes place on an intergalactic reality TV show called Survival Arena Murder Time. (It’s not the first reality TV show Morty and Rick have taken part in.)
Murdering a fellow contestant awards the combatant a “prize orb” which the victor(s) can trade in for rewards at the end of competition. Much like in Hunger Games, giving the audience a good show results in more rewards. The real end-game here is a high-end luxury spa on the moon of the planet Gathora that’s aptly titled — ahem — “Balls Deep.” Going there is a big deal, apparently. sigh
Sex jokes aside, the comic does refreshingly have Morty question the comedic value of the whole transformation bit. First “Tiny Rick,” then “Pickle Rick,” and now over a dozen new Ricks. The mad scientist still screams his new form for every iteration. (“I’M PIZZA RICK!”) Even Morty questions why anybody finds this funny, and we love to see this meta analysis even if there’s no follow through.
The comic ultimately amounts to a blitz of random Rick transformations and gruesome deaths with Rick screaming each new identity, all leading to a devastating final confrontation with the last enemy. Without giving it away, let’s just say the final encounter might traumatize the reader just as much as it does Morty.
Ultimately, the whole thing applies Rick and Morty’s penchant for alien randomness to an overly popular concept running rampant in the zeitgeist, and it totally works, especially when the comic hones in on the emotional trauma. Even if it’s fleeting, at least it offers more substance than Fortnite.
When Morty and Rick play a real-life game of intergalactic Fortnite, shit gets way more real than that silly game teens are obsessed with.