The girls are back in town, the gang of merry mythical misfits have returned to Palisade the city where we were first introduced to them.
The very first arc of Rat Queens which is now collected in trade was a strong book. The art was top notch and was way above and beyond my expectations, the writing just hilarious. It was a really fresh book and is something I really felt confident in recommending to female friends and acquaintances.
It was a fantasy adventure with strong female characters; filled with action and a tremendous amount of humor. The series seemed as if it was primed for greatness, and for my two cents would be great as an Adult Swim cartoon.
However, somewhere along the line the series stumbled a bit, especially when original artist and co-creator Roc Upchurch left the title. Current artist Tess Fowler does a decent job filling in, technically she is very sound in her abilities, stylistically though I’m a tad underwhelmed. She can draw action, and backgrounds, etc., but her art lacks originality and voice.
Rat Queens #16 kicks off a new storyline “When Beards Collide”, but it hardly feels like one I am interested in reading. If you were looking to get into the series now, I wouldn’t recommend it. There would be too many questions, too much confusion and you may be wondering, “why does the little one do so many drugs?”
Betty, who is the shortest of the group, apparently loves psychedelics. Which in the beginning of the series was funny and needed little explanation in earlier issues when readers were first getting to know the characters. However, this issue makes her look very one dimensional. Her only goal is to score some magic mushrooms. The rest of the Rat Queens appear to disapprove, but say nothing to her and the topic is dropped in two panels.
Plot wise I’m not really sure where this is going in future issues. With a story arc titled “When Beards Collide” presumably it is going to revolve around Violet, who is a dwarf and has a beard. Possibly it will revolve around her and her brother, who have a few brief exchanges with one another. Her brother tells her he wants to discuss something with her, but she is only interested in getting laid. However, with everything else that is happening in this comic I would have hardly called the exchange between Violet and her brother foreshadowing to future events. The exchange between the two hardly seemed important, and it wasn’t exactly the most memorable thing that happens to Violet in this issue.
Frankly, there is a lot going on in this comic and it is a little hard to follow. All of our characters are off doing their own thing, which makes the book feel like a filler issue meant to get readers to buy a book that was previously on hiatus. Yet, the comic doesn’t really do a good job of advancing the plot of any particular story. If the book was meant to serve as filler until the next issue, it would have been better spent recapping previous events from past storylines to capture a new readership.
Writer Kurtis Wiebe can write funny dialogue; and it is best highlighted in the issue with atheist necromancer Dee and her time spent at the pub. There is a humorous exchange between her and another patron who claims he is not a bard, and wishes to hear stories about her adventures, which is then interrupted by a bear covered in armor.
How do you rank a comic that was so great, but seems to have had a fall from grace? Rat Queens #16 may be a must have simply for the fact that it is supposedly the beginning to a new story arc. Yet, it feels mostly like filler. Nothing significant seems to take place. The characters just get into their usual shenanigans that we’ve come to expect from them: drugs, sex, heavy drinking, and some violence.
- Beginning of a new story arc
- Some humorous moments
- A bear wearing armor
- Artwork is bland
- Feels like filler