So, apparently, Rat Queens had some production problems. Those problems were the original artist getting arrested for domestic abuse after beating up his ex-wife. What that means is that, despite clearly ending mid-story, Volume 3 may be the last Rat Queens trade.
So how was the book subtitled Demons?
As a step in a larger narrative, fine. If the whole thing ends here, there’s a lot of unanswered questions floating around.
So, what’s going on? Last volume saw elf mage/alternative type Hannah reveal she is, among other things, half-demon. Something happened to her (step) father and she’s off to get him out of mystical lock-up at Mage University, a school she never actually finished. By the by, “Mage University” was the best name the mage community could come up with since, we are told, they suck at naming things. Along for the ride are the rest of the Rat Queens, Dee the human atheist cleric, Violet the dwarf hipster fighter, and Betty the smidgen hippie thief.
That helps a bit. Dee and Betty are actually on quests of their own as it turns out, and in Betty’s case, it is about time we learned the small gal was more than just someone who loved candy and hallucinogenic drugs. Violet doesn’t have much of her own character development coming this time around, but she got some good stuff in during Volume 2, where we saw she shaved her beard to stand out and now has grown it back because everyone else was shaving theirs. In the meantime, Betty gives her own backstory when another smidgen comes to kill her for reasons that are a mystery to the other Queens and only Violet’s drunken stumbling into Betty’s room saves Betty’s life. Dee, meanwhile, has learned all there is to know about the ancient squid demon her people worship and she’s made it her mission to destroy the thing.
But, as is generally the case with Rat Queens, the story is dominated by Hannah. She’s finding out things about her step-father and mother she didn’t know, about her own heritage, and sharing that she was basically an outcast her whole life who couldn’t retain a friend to the other Queens. There’s a split in the group at the end of the volume. It’s doubtful Betty, Violet, and Dee have given up on Hannah, but they have to do their own thing for a bit while Hannah continues her own descent without them. The volume also contains a special issue dedicated to orc adventurer Braga, who has a secret of her own, but writer Kurtis J Wiebe has the characters more or less down, the humor is generally solid, and new artist Tess Fowler doesn’t do too bad a job all things being equal. But if this is the end of Rat Queens, then it ends in an anticlimactic manner as few stories are actually resolved. With that in mind, let’s say eight out of ten ice dragons who love candy.