Rick and Morty Volume Three collects #11 – #15 of the comic series. This time, Rick and Morty take a trip into their minds, Jerry and Summer switch bodies, and Morty is forced to battle it out in a death-defying gladiator event! As always, you can pick up copies of the Rick and Morty comic series at your local comic book store or bookstore. You can also buy them online. Recommended sites include Amazon, Oni Press, and Comixology.
ISSUE #11: Head-Space: Chapter One
Jerry confronts Rick over the matters of a toaster that has been tinkered with (Rick wanted to find the perfect toast across the multiverse), however he finds something far more disturbing: Rick’s decapitated head rigged to a machine. With Morty also missing, the Smith family suffer through the Five Stages of Grief in a relatively short amount of time, eventually concluding that Rick and Morty are both dead.
Rick and Morty are obviously fine, but their situation is anything but. Turns out the two are inside the mind of the Rick Head. Our Rick had spotted him from another dimension and had taken it to figure out what caused his dimension to blow up. All they know is that it involves aliens, but they don’t venture any further into Other Rick’s mind before they become distorted. Other Rick’s head is slowly fading away, the wires Rick had hooked him up to had been his only support and someone (probably Jerry) unplugged it from him. Indeed, the Smiths had taken the head so they could bury it for Rick and Morty’s funeral. As a last desperate measure, Rick opens up a portal…
Rick had actually found two bodies; the Other Morty’s severed head is connected to an old fridge in Rick’s garage.
ISSUE #12: Head-Space: Chapter Two
Rick and Morty jump ship to Other Morty’s mind. A simplified world compared to Other Rick’s complicated mass, the duo resume their original mission to find out what the aliens did to their dimension and how to prevent them from ruining their own world. They arrive on a war-torn Earth, destroyed by the aliens. Beth and Summer are part of a resistance group while Jerry had been kidnapped by the enemies for reasons unknown.
Beth concludes Jerry is a double crosser who has been building a weapon for the aliens. The only choice left is to kill him! Further intrigue arise when Beth mentions something about a toaster, but before Rick can question it, the aliens ambush the resistance and take them hostage. Fortunately Other Morty’s mind is so dumb that everyone else is simpleminded as well, giving Rick an easy advantage against the moronic extraterrestrials.
The resistance invade the alien base after. Jerry was indeed working on the toaster, threatened by the aliens to do so and under assumption that his family was dead. The toaster he created is about to overload though, taking everyone with it when it does. With a little motivation from Morty, Rick is able to create a dimensional portal out, but the rest of the Smith family chooses to stay. After all, they’re only fragments of Other Morty’s mind; they know it’s too late for them. Perhaps Rick and Morty has a better chance of keeping their world safe now that they know what to expect.
Once Rick and Morty return to their rightful home, they reunite with the grieving Smith family. The heartwarming moment is ruined when Rick tells Jerry off for messing with his toaster. Trouble further rears its ugly head when the aliens land in front of their garage.
ISSUE #13: Head-Space: Chapter Three
The alien’s intent is not one of invade and conquer, but a spiritiual quest: a long time ago the two species were at constant war until they spotted what they considered a divine signal from elsewhere. The war ended and the aliens patched up in an effort to find this energy wave. Eventually they traced the origin to Jerry’s toaster. They flock to the hapless man to worship him, giving Rick time to get the other Smith family members out of here. The aliens act quickly and one-by-one, they capture all but Morty.
Morty barely has time to catch a breath before he bumps into a couple of aliens called the “Engineers”. These two chuckleheads were the mastermind behind this whole scheme: they triggered the endless war between species so they could profit off it. When the aliens stopped fighting long enough to accept a divine path, the Engineers took advantage and concocted a new plan: have Rick be the ”Voice” of the toaster and act as God under the Engineers’ influences. They tempt Morty with the idea of everlasting peace through religious righteousness and threaten him otherwise if he doesn’t agree. Rick arrives in time to kill them off, but Morty is having second thoughts; an Utopian universe is too good to resist. He accepts.
180 years later, the Smith family are the eternally youthful religious devotees of the ruler, Mort’Dyb. Under his name, people have preserved peace throughout the galaxies and converted any non-believers through compromising means. Unfortunately, Morty has grown bored of his life, numb from the heinous steps he has taken in order to maintain paradise. Even surprise assassins who try to execute him is nothing but a mundane ordeal. Morty captures one for questioning and finds out that he works for the Black Church, a resistance group who wants to dethrone Morty whom they view as a false god.
To everyone’s surprise, the leader of the Black Church is Jerry! His decision is anything but predictable: he’s sick of his wife’s illicit affairs and his family’s continued disrespect for him. Jerry is about to blow up the whole joint, but Rick (now a head in a giant robot body) appears from behind and kills him. Rick favors the sneak-up kill, doesn’t he? A tired, but relieved Morty is whisked away by Rick as the two have a heart-to-heart over their regrets as the world falls apart…
Poignant as the ending is, the entire saga that’s been happening for the past three chapters were all memories from the Other Rick’s severed head. Our Morty and Rick had been spectators the whole time.
ISSUE #14: Ready Party Morty
Morty wakes up inside Rick’s spaceship, having been kidnapped by his grandfather so he can be a man. Summer and her boyfriend Richard are accidental stowaways who are locked in with the two. After Rick jettisons Richard out into space (he swears to Summer her boyfriend will be fine because he placed the teen in suspended animation), he gives Summer free reign of his spaceship while he takes Morty to an intergalactic school. Summer is more than ecstatic to take the ship out for a joy ride.
Rick dumps Morty at the HSS Academy and hooks him up to a computer simulation. In one day, Morty can get the entire high school experience and toughen up in the process. Rick lays out numerous obstacles for Morty to pass, but the boy keeps failing. By the time Morty reaches his senior year, Rick ratchets up the violence to coerce Morty into fighting his way out for once. When the two finish, Rick tries to butter up his grandson by saying Morty will grow up one day and they won’t have adventures together as much; activities such as this are means to fill their limited time together. Morty doesn’t buy it and tells Rick not to pull this stunt again.
Meanwhile, Summer’s fun time comes to a halt when she discovers her own father was another stowaway in Rick’s spaceship. Summer is upset that she now has to spend time with her dad, but she’s downright miserable when Jerry pushes a button that causes them to switch bodies. Summer is swimming in Jerry’s impotence and self-esteem issues while Jerry feels vigorous and youthful again. Together, they set off to find Robert, but are interrupted when Beth asks Jerry to come home for a favor. Said favor is a sexy night out between the two in bed. Awkward. Elsewhere, Jerry takes advantage of his young age and camps out with Sumnmer’s friends, feeling the most happy he’s likely felt since he accidentally impregnated Beth.
Rick eventually teleports the two back to his ship and switch them back to normal. Jerry returns home to find his wife lovingly embracing him, calling him “brave” for something he said earlier. We never find out what Summer said to Beth while she was in Jerry’s body, but it avoided a very squicky situation that could have occurred otherwise.
Oh, and they find Richard.
ISSUE #15: Big Game
Rick and Morty are hogging the TV, preventing Jerry from watching football. When Rick dismisses Earth sports as trivial matters, Jerry does the stupid thing and challenges Rick to find something better. Rick gladly takes yet another opportunity to dump on his son-in-law, flying him and Morty to an intergalactic casino that houses a colosseum. This is THE sporting event in the known galaxies, a Gladiator competition where betting parents pit their teenaged offsprings to survive an endurance of violent beasts or die trying.
Appalled by the level of carnage and greed on display, Jerry storms off and wanders into the casino. He plays the slot machine and uncannily keeps picking out winners of the Gladiator event every time. This earns him the attention of a few loan sharks who strike a deal with him that would be mutually beneficial. Jerry being Jerry, he wades in too deep, forever invested with dangerous cheaters who would quickly kill him the minute he’s useless to them, especially when he accidentally picks Morty as the next winner, knowing his son has no chance of surviving.
After Rick gives Morty a hat to wear for the event, he gets into an argument with one of the alien parents. The bitterness culminates into Morty being dumped into the battlegrounds as a contestant. Rick tries to free Morty, but the rules are super strict, there’s nothing he can do about it. Dejected, Morty meet up with the other teenagers who are equally lost in disbelief and sorrow over their fates. Morty pumps them up, knowing his grandfather will devise a plan to free them; all they have to do is hold out till then. The kids realize too late into the match that Rick has no plan, so Morty rounds them up with another rousing speech to give it their all and spit on their parents’ faces for their avarice. Spirits renewed, the kids run into battle…and promptly dies, leaving Morty as the only survivor. Surrounded by his opponents, Morty snaps and he single–handedly kills them all. The artwork is rougher and angular than the usual Rick and Morty style for this issue, but it adds to the stress and violence Morty is feeling and exhibiting here.
The loan sharks are discovered and arrested by security after, including Jerry when Rick turns him in. Compared to what the loan sharks would have done with him, Jerry losing his hands in exchange for not going to jail is a best case scenario. The most important thing in all this is that Rick did end up profiting off the game, having betted on Morty in secret, much to Jerry’s anger. The bitter irony is that Rick cheated to win; the hat Morty won controlled his nerve system to act accordingly based on best probable outcomes. Guess the only lucky one here is Rick.