Welcome to the table,
Mollymauk Tealeaf “Long May He Reign”
Where were you when the Iron Shepherds came? In the beginning, I didn’t understand Critical Role. I had been playing TTRPGs all my life. The YouTube channel I would watch Magic The Gathering content on was not telling me about a group of adult gamers playing a campaign on Twitch. My first impression before even watching an episode was this show was going to be some kind of sponsored goofy campaign full of “smash that like button” and “like, share, subscribe” kind of messaging that grated on my nerves in a way that harkened back to those used car commercials with the flailing tube man did.
Being in the TTRPG space I watched the fandom of Critical Role grow and flourish. I was aware of the players and their work and I tangentially knew who the characters were, but the 10min I had tried to watch had a bald man playing a Dragonborn who got under my skin so badly I closed the tab and put on something else.
It was just not clicking for me. I really liked what they were trying to do, Matt Mercer seemed too good to be real, Taliesin Jaffe came with an emotional weight that was more authentic than most of the stuff I was seeing in current shows, and the whole table (sans the one guy) actually seemed pretty invested in the table and each other but the whole thing just was not clicking for me yet.
One of my players, probably the closest person I have to a sister in this world or the worlds beyond, kept telling me it was good. She is the kind of person who shares her opinion but it’s never pushy. She has this logical charm that is understated but it sticks with you.
If she tells you something is good or that you have to try a thing you eventually just do it. It’s not that you feel pressured, or that she beats you up with information or brings it up again and again. You don’t even notice half the time when it slides into conversations, like a skilled assassin’s blade through the ribs. So weeks after she had offhandedly mentioned “Just skip the first campaign and start the new one, you will for sure like Mollymauk.” I did just that.
She never leads me astray.
For those who are wondering what Critical Role is, let me see if I can explain it to you quickly. It’s a streaming show that typically airs every Thursday where a bunch of self-proclaimed “nerdy-ass voice actors” sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons (this is the part where Travis Willingham and friends scream Dungeons and Dragons in every increasingly unhinged voices while the storyteller Matthew Mercer keeps a straight face.)
Dark Horse’s Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins – Mollymauk Tealeaf is not only a very long title for a graphic novel to have, but it’s a very good story that transcends the fandom and provides a fantasy tale that will fill your cup and pump you up for the next adventure.
Written by Jody Houser with Taliesin Jaffe and Matthew Mercer the story picks up shortly after the violet-skinned Tiefling, who would come to wear the name of Mollymauck for a time, claws his way out of a shallow grave with no memory of what had come before.
The art of Hunter Severn Bonyun with colors by Cathy Le is as bright and flashy as the protagonist himself and keeps the story flickering back and forth between the slightly uncomfortable and unknowing reaches of a worrying powerful blank slate and the charming warmth and bravado that is an empty vessel of a man filling itself with aspects of the personalities around him.
As was typical with the character that Taliesin Jaffe played at the table, in this graphic novel you never quite know what Mollymauk is thinking. As he excels at his questionable skillset his warm eyes and ease of speaking keep you from asking questions about the forest of red flags that keep popping up.
It’s truly a testament to the skills of the storytellers involved and the character Taliesin created that even knowing what I know about the character having seen all of the Mighty Nein campaign I still find him to be so endearing and charming.
While Mollymauk is the central focus of the story, the yarn is not without its supporting cast of characters. Lestera is without a doubt the standout among them and the development of the relationship between her and Mollymauk added a whole new layer to the lore of the character in a way I was not expecting but that totally fit and in a lot of ways enhanced what had already been presented at the Critical Role table.
Experience the captivating tale of Mollymauk Tealeaf like never before in Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins. With breathtaking art and gripping storytelling, this graphic novel is a must-have for fans of the hit web series and anyone who loves immersive fantasy worlds. Discover the secrets of Mollymauk’s past and embark on an unforgettable journey that will keep you hooked until the very last page. The end is only the beginning.
Until next time, Long may he reign!
Welcome to the table, Mollymauk Tealeaf “Long May He Reign” Where were you when the Iron Shepherds came? In theCOMICONRead More