The issue starts in the middle of the journey. The Rat Queens have started their trek towards the school Hannah once attended to help her father. Sadly they have been waylaid by goblins who are preparing to eat the Queens in their big gobbo stew. Seems like a normal day for fantasy adventurers. There is a great action sequence, and then a wonderful chat between all four of our heroes. I really don’t want to spoil anything so that is as specific as I plan on getting. This issue kind of starts in the middle of things, which is something new for Rat Queens which has been pretty structured with each story arc. While it works here perfectly (I don’t think we needed to actually see the conversation leading to their departure) it did give me pause for a panel or two as I wondered if I had missed something in between issues.
We have a giant fight scene along with an epic escape, but the highlight of the book continues to be the characters interacting. Be it while caged or when they are at a pub later on, seeing these four women just talk is always captivating. Each character is unique and individualist. They all talk differently even when they are agreeing on the same topic. I could probably read several issues of them just bullshitting in a bar and be perfectly content.
Betty in particular steals the show, from how she reacts to the threat of goblins eating the Queens for dinner, to well everything she does. Based on the last few pages it looks like we will be getting more of her back story which makes me happy as we know way too little about her. I am looking forward to what happens next, and excited for more revelations about both Betty and Hannah.
Even though there has been some art changes, from the first panel the book has a familiar feel. We do have one major character style change though, Violet has grown her beard back! Which may be the first bearded dwarven woman in pop culture who is a main character, not that there have been many bearded dwarven women in most stories in the modern era. The world and the characters are so well developed, and the artists brought on board have been so skilled, it all fits together perfectly. Fowler did a fantastic job in Brega one shot, and brings high quality work here as well. The faces of characters really pop and are emotive, giving a lot of story without need of words. Actually the way each character handles themselves feels very natural. The positions seem chosen with care and yet are authentic, not plastically posed. This gives a feel of movement to the pages. The colors also help in the mood. This may be the brightest issue of Rat Queens yet. Bonvillian’s colors pop and are a little lighter issues past. It works well for the art and the story. Rat Queens can have some dark moments but is generally a little more upbeat across the board.
Rat Queens remains one of the best comic books being published today. Its unique and awesome characters shine in every issue. Even when it deals with tropes we have seen before it approaches them in a new way. It is unpredictable and fun and while this is the eleventh issue a new reader could try it and decide if they like it or not.