Publisher: Image Comics (Shadowline)
Writer: Kurtis J Wiebe
Artist: Roc Upchurch
Release Date: 16th July 2014
As someone who spends a lot of time on social media, most of what I see of Rat Queens is to do with cosplay, merch, social clubs, an animated series when the book is barely out of its first arc, and the book itself has a letters page that references to in-story in-jokes that some readers won’t get unless they are in the Rat Queens social media circles. It’s almost possible to be aware of Rat Queens without knowing it’s actually a comic.
Thankfully, Rat Queens continues to deliver pant-wettingly brilliant source material. Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch haven’t let the quick success of their creation go to their heads, and as we reach issue #7 they continue to tell a perfectly paced tale, with some of the most relaxed and believable dialogue in current comics. Fantasy setting aside, these characters talk like you talk. They drink, they screw, they make mistakes they regret, and they learn from them, and they feel human; something which is accentuated perfectly by Upchurch’s art. Rat Queens is one of the prettiest books from any publisher at the moment, and every wrinkled nose, every melancholy expression, every body shape, and every dynamic movement in the fantastically drawn fight scene at the mid-point brings this comic to life in a way that few others can match.
This issue sets up a lot of potential character development. The Rat Queens all have secrets and histories to explore, and here we learn a little more about Dee Dee in particular, as her husband comes into the fold to seek assistance to find a missing artefact. Plot threads begin to tie together by the end of the issue, giving us some insight to the villain of the arc, and you can tell there is a lot more story to be told and more revelations to had before Wiebe gets to where he is taking us.
The comedy element of Rat Queens is still present. Betty’s comedown from the mushroom people she ate last issue raises a chuckle, and the usual wit and sarcasm continues to add charm to the titular characters without grinding on you.
Month to month I simply cannot find a flaw in these pages. As a collector who is gradually making the switch to trades, Rat Queens is one of the few books that remain on my pull list. I don’t pull punches in my reviews, and it’s great to have a regular book where I never have to. Ever.
Stanley Stu-Brick Says…
Somewhere between Conan and “Bone” by Jeff Smith there lies an awesome place where this comic lives. Thank the Gods for that. This is a title that keeps getting better and better as the issues roll out. The story itself is a humour-laden and danger-daring roller coaster that echoes Hellboy from time to time and measures itself next to HP Lovecraft. It is truly excellent.
The characters are well designed and each have moments to shine, Hannah is a gnarly leader that takes control and no prisoners. Its a good lead to bounce everyone else of off. She slips herself into the story with ease and keeps everyone on their toes.
The art in this issue is cinematic as all hell! It has great motion and speed that pulls you deeper into the action. One fight scene is all crunch and snap! Which in itself is a refreshing look, not every fight scene in a book is well drawn or structured but here it thrives on the hard hits and the ugliness of it all without being to gory or to PG 13. Its a good balance. Upchurch (what an awesome name, too) sucks you in and releases some glorious work. The end of this issue is particularly epic.
I know some folk have been put of by the swearing and I had a friend compare it to Your Highness with James Franco. No and no. Especially the latter. Its a good fun book, go get some.