Writer: Kurtis J. Weibe / Artist: Tess Fowler / Image Comics
The Queens are back, Baby!
Alright. Okay. I’m good.
So. Our beloved Rat Queens are back from a four-month break that has been known in my household as “Mommy isn’t sad, Honey, she’s just going through some things.” I think it’s easy to forget how much you love a series until it goes away and leaves you freebasing old issues and Tumblr fan art off that “I <3 Betty” t-shirt you tried to customize using dollar store bleach and freezer paper. Needless to say, @*%! yeah, man. I’m in a good place today.
Issue #11 begins in the middle of a plot that readers are clueless about. It wasn’t my favorite thing, mostly because I felt like I missed an issue somewhere. I won’t lie, I had to flip back to page one and start over once or twice. Once it finally clicked that we weren’t following the fairly structured formula I’d become accustomed to, I was golden. Weibe once again proves himself proficient in both writing and pacing, and thrusts the reader into that familiar clever quip/all-out-brawl combo we’ve come to know and love by the third page. When we finally see our Queens (who have been captured by a gaggle of hungry goblins with pretty decent culinary skills) again we’re already sucked in and gladly giving them the attention this series rightfully deserves.
I’ve already mentioned Weibe’s writing, which is spectacular, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t also bring up the art. Following original artist Roc Upchurch’s decision to use his hands for something other than illustrating, we were kind of left bouncing from one capable artist to another. Stjepan Sejic was slated to continue the series beginning with issue #9 in February of this year, but had to step away due to health concerns. Tess Fowler, who illustrated Braga-centered issue #9, stepped up the plate and has been joined by colorist Tamra Bonvillain. While I have no love for Upchurch, his work was incredible, and I’m still adjusting to the book’s departure from his style. If this issue is any indication, Fowler will make that easy. Each panel is detailed and lush and chock full of nuance and joy. Fowler is no stranger to kick-ass women, being one herself, and she does our Queens hella justice. Betty especially shines in this issue, as do Dee and Violet’s beard. I flipped back through the book once I finished it just to look at the art again, and that’s something I don’t do very often. I’m 100% here for Fowler and Bonvillain.
All in all, yes, the Queens are back and I am stoked. I’m trying to tap into my most critical poetry slam judge persona to score this issue accurately, but let’s face it… Rat Queens is one of the best comic books currently in print. Here’s hoping it never dips close to that score I got in Columbus that one time back in 09′.
Score: 8.9 out of 10