Rick and Morty Presents: Birdperson reveals the first meeting between Rick and his monotone friend, exposing the lie that began their friendship.
Rick Sanchez doesn’t make many friends, and those he does make he tends to struggle to keep. Probably the most famous of Rick’s allies is Birdperson – the monotone avian alien who was killed at his own wedding and later resurrected as a weapon against Rick. In a recent one-shot comic, it’s revealed why Birdperson befriended the selfish Rick in the first place, and it’s not a story that casts Rick in a favorable light.
It turns out their friendship was built on Rick saving Birdperson after crash-landing on his planet, Flipflap-12, while outrunning some enemies of his own. But Rick is almost never motivated by altruism, and it’s revealed in Rick and Morty Presents: Birdperson #1, by Alex Firer and Fred C. Stresing, that he intended for his alien pursuers to kill their way through Flipflap-12 as a way of distracting them from their real target.
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The one-shot offers the humorous background of Birdperson’s quest to become a man (or a birdman, at least) by stealing the egg of the Peoplebirds. Peoplebirds are Flipflap-12’s other dominant species who – in a visual flip of Birdperson’s own design – are large birds that wear people skins for hats. In the TV show Birdperson is a comedic straight man with no sense of irony or humor, taking things as literally as possible. Viewers have made the leap that this difference was due to his alien culture, but the comic reveals that Birdperson is an outcast among his own people for his drab personality, and he hopes this feat will help him fit him.
Rick interferes with Birdperson’s quest as his portal gun runs out of juice and he crashlands. Tailing Rick comes a squadron of Gromflomites, the ugly bipedal flies that organize the larger universe under one political system, who intend to kill Rick. Rick takes credit for killing off the first wave of Gromflomites and Birdperson resents him, suspecting Rick only intends to refill his portal gun and leave, but Rick enlightens Birdperson to his second-class role within his own society and manages to break down some gender roles too, explaining how manhood is a myth and Birdperson can find his own worth without stealing an egg.
It’s enough philosophizing to get Birdperson to see Rick in a favorable light – and get him to help out the scientist, which is Rick’s true goal – even when the Gromflomite leader tries to explain that Rick is only using Flipflap-12 as collateral in order to ensure his escape. Rick shares his softer side and takes Birdperson on a series of adventures (including a tryst where the two make out in one panel), forging a lifelong bond. Birdperson doesn’t even seem sour about the fact that his friend lied about his motives, perhaps thinking he’s seen who Rick “really” is. The comic ends by snapping to the present and Rick reading through Birdperson’s journal and crying over his dead friend. It turns out that in overlooking Rick’s initial, selfish intentions, Birdperson did make a true connection with the alcoholic genius. But while Birdperson’s legacy as a true friend lends some soul to Rick, his lie is still at the heart of their friendship, especially since fans of Rick and Morty know he’d do the same thing again in a heartbeat.
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