I know I stopped reading Rat Queens ages ago. I had my reasons. Problems keeping a consistent artist on the book meant trades came out sporadically as it was. I was also frustrated how, when there were four (later) five members of the group how most stories seemed to focus so much on Hannah the half-elf as the main character. Even when Betty, Violet, Dee, or Braga got a bit of the spotlight, the story still seemed to be largely about Hannah.
Well, I decided to give it another shot. For some odd reason, it had a new creative team for this volume, subtitled The Once and Future King. Why is that odd? I’ll explain a bit below. Maybe a new writer and artist will make the book more to my liking.
Actually, this one was a step down. As much as I found the writing of Kurtis J Wiebe frustrating at times, he managed to give the Queens all a distinctive voice. New writer Ryan Ferrier just doesn’t quite have the knack for it. The story here, in many ways, is just a standard fantasy story with a lot of swearing that doesn’t quite fit into what’s going on. Violet has retired from action to live out a quiet life with Orc Dave, and her replacement Maddie isn’t quite up to the task just yet. Braga seems to be trying to help Maddie along as best she can. Betty’s drinking is getting out of hand enough for the others to hold an intervention. Dee has a god inside of her, but she knows better than to use it while Hannah keeps demanding she do so.
Why Dee doesn’t explain what’s wrong, I don’t know. Hannah, as a half-demon, should probably know better than anyone why Dee’s power is problematic. Then again, most of Hannah’s characterization this trade seems to be she has issues with everybody for reasons that only she seems to know and everyone more or less just accepts that. Furthermore, Betty’s thing was all kinds of illicit substances. Her thing was she was a hippie, not an alcoholic. Here, it’s just booze.
Regardless, someone comes along and manages to conquer Palisade, someone with a grudge against the Queens, and somehow they find themselves exiled. Can they find the weapons they need to return and save the day?
Well, yes. Yes, they can.
I didn’t like this one all that much. It feels forced. The jokes don’t really work as well as they could. It seemed like Ferrier just thought adding swear words to a fantasy setting was enough of a joke on its own, and while there was always a bit of that, there was a stronger sense of character in the first few trades that I could really get behind. This just seems more like someone trying to copy something and not quite getting it right.
Which makes me wonder how Rat Queens even got a new creative team. My impression was Image books were all creator owned. So, why is there someone else writing and/or drawing this book? Writing especially. I could probably look into why that happened, but I didn’t care enough for the net result, so I don’t much care to find out.
5 out of 10 giant dogs.
And remember, I rarely go below a 6.