REVIEW: Critical Botch – The Comic #5 (2021)

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

Who would have thought that listening to the disembodied voice of an obviously malevolent demon trapped in a medallion would be a bad idea? If your answer to that was “everyone”, you obviously have not come across Critical Botch’s so-called “Murder Hobos”, the loveable crew of miscreants and would-be heroes that sometimes partake in something vaguely appearing to be a Dungeons and Dragons Adventure. Laying low after fleeing prosecution for at least two counts of murder, a whole lotta theft, conspiracy to commit crime, and a list of tons of tother things that make city guards unhappy, the party is still sifting through their spoils of battle and may have unwittingly just created their own antagonist.

For those that have yet to read one of these reviews, I’ll get the informational part out of the way – Critical Botch was originally a Twitch Stream / YouTube show that has been running off-and-on for a few years now. It is a Dungeons and Dragons podcast helmed by Brandon Cutler as DM and Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, Colt Cabana, Leva Bates, Peter Avalon, and Trent Baretta, as players. This comic that we are looking at is a hilarious adaptation of this show, once made available in one of the Pro Wrestling Crates as a pack-in. Written and drawn by Valente Ochoa, the comic does an amazing job of taking what can occasionally be a meandering series of in-jokes and pop culture refences and massaging it into a humorous comic book adventure. We are at the fifth chapter of the series, the second of which in the second scenario, The Clog Roads.

Critical Botch Vol 1

Critical Botch Vol 2

Critical Botch Vol 3

Critical Botch Vol 4

“In part two of the Clog Roads series, The Murderhobos awaken the powerful Oolash. An evil being who makes promises of everlasting life to Rick Birdman for a blood sacrifice. The Gang decides to go through town and lead a campaign of misinformation in order for them to sneak through undetected. Find out what happens when you mess with things you don’t understand.”

In a comic full of great moments, one of the funniest running-gags so far is everyone’s inability to grasp what the word “boon” is, which comes into play each and every time that the potentially evil Oolash promises “a boon” to the party for handing him the medallion in question, an item that likely gives him power and could bring about the end of the world, or not, nobody is sure as of yet. I also enjoy the players looking for just about every reason to use spells and other items that are otherwise somewhat unnecessary. For example, Jonathan Taylor-Tortuga trying to rope everyone into using his sleeping spell to rest when as Lorelai puts it “or why don’t we just sleep like normal!” Their methods may be overkill, but I guess the job gets done either way. I’m also always very concerned with how innocent Colt Cabana seems at times, an example being him pondering on the origin of bird eggs.

By the end of the chapter we are getting close to what I assume was Brandon’s original idea for the module before it got sidelined for well over thirty minutes to an hour. Then again, what D&D game wouldn’t be complete without long and relentlessly meandering sections of playtime where nothing of actual value actually happens?

Once again, Valente Ochoa has taken the task of curating the best bits out of a podcast, and presenting it in a side-splitting way that I always love. The artwork gets better and better in each issue with some really impressive splash pages in this chapter – one towards the end with a large crowded town square was especially nice. There may be a number of humorous fantasy-themed comics out there, but if you are looking for something different, this may be right up your alley. This is especially something to look into if you are an AEW Wrestling fanboy, as any adjacent material is always fun. Chapter six appears to be the finale of The Clog Roads, so stay tuned for another adventure with the Murder Hobos as long as they can stay out of trouble long enough to get out of town!

You can find Valente’s works on his Lulu pages Critical Botch and Bedlam City Comics. He can also be found on Twitter, and the webpage for Bedlam City Comics.

For the original show this is based on:

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