writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe / artist: Stjepan Sejic / Image Comics
Here we are.
The moment of truth.
The moment where we, the fans of one of the most impressive series on the market, find out if the magic can continue without the artist we thought we knew and loved, Roc Upchurch. Some of us had doubts, some of us gave up on the series all together (I nearly did), and some of us were steadfast in the faith that the Queens would keep rolling in the right direction.
Y’all. Rat Queens hasn’t missed a beat.
Any anxiety I had stored up over the last three months was put to rest in this issue. After a detour for a quick Hannah backstory, we pick up where we left off, watching Palisade get plenty messed up by Gerrig and those pesky Abyssal Shibagu he summoned before the break. We also learn that those flashbacks we’ve seen in previous issues (as well as in this one) are all caused by those aforementioned Shibagu and their apparent appetite for displaced reality.
Tentacled baddies aside, there is also the little problem of a very chained up and very naked Sawyer getting all tortured and used as bait for Hannah, who leads the whole crew right into an ambush in order to save him. I’ve done dumber things for dudes who aren’t as chiseled as he is, so I can’t hate. You gotta protect your investments out here.
Moving on from the plot (and Sawyer the Bae, who sounds like Roland from Borderlands in my head), Stjepan Sejic did a fantastic job replacing Upchurch. Coming in mid story arc is hardly an ideal situation, but Sejic did a fantastic job. It also helps that his style, which is darker and more serious than Unchurch’s more toonish vibe, is well suited for the current storyline. My initial opinion was that Upchuch would be impossible to replace, and I’m so glad that I was wrong. Sejic is a great fit, and I’m glad he took on Rat Queens despite the pressure of filling Roc’s shoes (and the scandal surrounding his departure).
Long story short, if you’re a fan of Rat Queens, this issue was probably everything you needed it to be. If you’re not already a fan, it’s not too late to start from the beginning. Volume 1 is already out and Volume 2 drops next month. Treat yo’ self.