REVIEW: Critical Botch – The Comic #3 (2021)

A Comic by Valente Ochoa based on the podcast by various AEW Wrestlers

We are now at the end of the first arc of the Critical Botch “All-Inn” storyline with Critical Botch #3. For those new to this, Critical Botch is a podcast/Twitch-streamed Dungeons & Dragons campaign by a number of wrestlers in All Elite Wrestling, including Brandon Cutler, Orange Cassidy, Leva Bates, and Colt Cabana, This comic is an adaptation of that put together by a California-based author/illustrator named Valente Ochoa with the blessing of the AEW crew. I came across the first volume packed into a recent Pro Wrestling Crate, and have enjoyed every issue that I’ve read. When it comes to my taste in comics nowadays, I shoot for indie books like this because they encompass the DIY attitude that shows they have more of a soul than the Big commercial comic companies.

“In this “exciting” conclusion to the All-Inn series, Rick and Orc are in jail trying to Shawshank their way out still, while Copper and Lorelai do their worst impressions of sewer-dwellers. Doc and JTT redefine hostile takeover and decide to go “Legit” in the ownership of the B&B… good luck with that! The series will continue!”

The story so far: Our murderous band of killer hobos met in a bar, seemingly looking for adventure, only to immediately start a brutal barfight that left a mercenary dead and guards searching for them. The party has split into three parts, two characters that have been stuck in jail, two that are trying to figure out a way to save them, and two that have taken over a quaint “bed and breakfast” in order to increase the party’s community standing so that they can lobby for the release of the first two on a civic level. As you can tell, it’s pretty ridiculous.

Once again, Valente Ochoa has done a wonderful job of taking dialogue from a somewhat meandering game of Dungeons and Dragons, excising the fluff, and making a coherent narrative out of it. The jokes are legitimately funny, and the artwork is solid. The stars of this third book are the Human Roque Copper Nightflare and the Moon Elf Ranger Lorelie Onessa Lian, They not only get the story back on track somewhat, but add intrigue with a steamy romantic tension not seen in too many campaigns. Every character has their funny moments, such as Orc Halfington’s quest for waterskins, or “The Bed and Breakfast Saga”, and everything finally comes together in the end.

Overall, I have enjoyed this series a lot. Each issue has gotten better as the story moves on, including artwork and plotting, and as an adaptation it’s pretty solid. So far, there have been quite a few episodes of this put onto Twitch and YouTube, so I can see that if Mr. Ochoa decides to continue he has plenty of storyline to work with. If you are a fan of AEW Wrestling or Dungeons and Dragons, this is a fun little comic that keeps you entertained until the very end. As of this writing there are a number of more comics available, so I will try to read more and get some more reviews out there.

You can find this comic on Lulu, it’s a bit pricey, but the author doesn’t get a ton from a printer like that, so any little bit helps him out! Support indie comics y’all!

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