Issue #3 in the “Vox Machina” prequel comic series sees the introduction of The Clasp, the convergence of at least 4 different paths, and some fun usage of “Cutting Words”.
We start in some kind of dungeon or holding cell. A guy is hanging by his arms from shackles embedded in the ceiling. A guy with golden eyes interrogating him about “the muck” – the poisoned swamp that’s been the focus of many groups from the 1st 2 issues. In the background are Keyleth, Tiberius, and the rest of their group. Golden Eyes decides to use torture – via Iron Fillings – to get the shackled Tiefling – who is revealed next page – to tell more of what he knows. Golden Eyes – “Sprieling Harrok” – is also revealed to be a member of the very seedy, very dangerous group of assassins known as The Clasp. Harrok, a Half-Orc, then whips the Halfling member of Keyleth’s group, poisoning him, knocking him out, and gives the rest of the group 12 hours to bring him info about the muck, or the Halfling dies, and presumably the rest of them die.
The scene shifts to street-level, where we see a cloaked figure walking towards a covered wagon. There’s a sewer grate on the left; from that grate, we hear the familiar squabbling from the Half-Elven twins, Vex (the Ranger/Rogue) and Vax (the Rogue):
They are stalking the Alchemist but realize that his agents (The Clasp?) have the streets covered, so they stick to the sewers. As they travel, they are suddenly ambushed by sorcerer-assassins! The assassins are defeated and, after Vax is humbled by Vex, continue on.
In a local tavern, Tiberius, Keyleth, and the rest of their group plot their next moves. They realize that a very strong and rare poison was used to defile the swamp; Keyleth states that she can track down the source of the poison (since Tiberius thinks that it’s only being brewed in one place) and morphs into a dog. Her and Tiberius go after the snow, while the other 2 head back to the muck to find anyone poisoning or cursing the swamp.
Tiberius has a pretty hilarious “conversation” with Keyleth on their search, grumbling about the rest of their group (paraphrasing: “they suck”), directional challenges (paraphrasing: “hope we’re not going backwards”), and the weirdness of a Dragonborn talking to a dog:
At the Alchemist’s Lab….
The Alchemist is communicating with what he thinks is his supplier at the door… until Grog and Scanlan step in. “You’ll never get it! You’ll have to kill me!” Scanlan nearly obliges by putting him asleep with a spell. Grog reminds Scanlan that they were supposed to meet someone there, when a purple cloud appears and 2 figures step out of the cloud.
Vex and Vax.
Scanlan picks up the book that the Alchemist had. Vax sees Scanlan with the book. Vax wants the book. Vax shoulderblocks Scanlan. Grog sees this and goes into a rage.
(BTW, “Thunderstruck!” is what Scanlan proclaimed after the end of that last panel above). During this fight, 5 assassins show up, prompting the previous 4 brawlers to become reluctant allies. Scanlan wasn’t concerned about them… until an arrow went into his shoulder.
Scanlan breaks out “Cutting Words” for the first time – a demoralizing psychic attack that basically locked up one of the guards. Teamwork between the Twins, Scanlan, and Grog win the day… as 2 figures push open the front door.
Keyleth and Tiberius!
Another group of assassins show up.
This group was much different, however. For starters, they stood toe-to-toe with the 6. Number 2, the Sorceress from Issue #2 was part of the new group, and she had no problem dealing with the 6: she stabbed Grog, knocked Scanlan across the room, then, with a snap of her fingers, locked Grog into a green sphere, taking him completely out of the fight.
The early iteration of Vox Machina is in some serious trouble.
I like that the group members all meet up… and they had to fight it out at the beginning; I think it’s because the twins needed to beat up something to get that squabbling energy out of their system. Scanlan’s Bardic personality really shined in this issue: you got everything from his wit to his profanity, all with humor interlaced within his words. You have to read it to get the full effect, though.
This series has been a fun read. Issue #4 should continue the fight against the mysterious Sorceress, the investigation of the muck, and how The Clasp will play into the whole situation.