Review – Rat Queens #12 (Image Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Image Comics/Shadownline
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artist: Tess Fowler
Colours: Tamra Bonvillain
Release Date: 16th September, 2015

As much as I’m all for an all out throw-down with whatever monster of the week is meddling with unsuspecting townspeople, what keeps me coming back to Rat Queens is the utterly convincing sisterhood at the core of the series… the sass, more than the sorcery. The latest issue has plenty of both, with some creative fights interspersed with completely relatable friendship anxieties.

#12 is centred around the fear that even the friends that have your back through the most unseemly eldritch horrors still might abandon you if given the right push; that dread that there is something about you horrible enough to make those people turn away from you. These ladies all have murky elements from their past that might just threaten the unity of The Rat Queens, and some are more lethal than others. Betty’s past is actively trying to murder her, Dee is troubled by her separation from her family and Hannah is terrified about what the rest of the queens might learn about her.

We’re just easing into this new arc and I’m still a little sore about the loss of Stjepan Sejic from the series, whose style really worked for the climax of the last plot. Rat Queens is no stranger to shifts in its creative team and has always rolled with these changes – largely thanks to the strength and consistency of the writing – but its hard not to get attached to certain versions of the heroines. Betty is Betty, irrevocably herself no matter who draws her but Tess Fowler’s Violet is a lot harder looking than her earlier incarnations. Also with the girls very practically bundled up in snow-appropriate gear, there’s not as much of an opportunity to play around with their distinctive looks, which have previously been a visually fun part of the series, as well as a great way of conveying their personalities.

In classic Rat Queens style, even the more perilous moments are balanced out by plenty of snark – and some wonderfully terrible cave graffiti – as well as genuine heartfelt moments between the queens. Wiebe has fleshed out these characters so well that an issue of Rat Queens feels like a night of beer and DnD with your besties, the ones that you know that gross thing you did that one time and are okay with it. Sadly adult life doesn’t always allow as much time as you’d like to raid dungeons with the gang, Rat Queens is definitely the next best way to get your fix.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Kirsty Hunter
Kirsty Tweets from @kirstythehunter.

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