Review: Rat Queens #3

This is a very different issue than the first two. It’s still funny, but there’s actually a lot of drama in this issue. There’s also a lot of what I call “world building” as character’s backstories are revealed setting up future storylines or at the very least dramatic dialogue between the characters. I really liked the issue because it was so different from the first two. It still managed to feel like the same world, but with so much drama it kept the world and story from feeling small or limiting itself to just humor and adventure. In a lot of ways the issue is about Hannah or more accurate the effects her personality has on the rest of the group. The other three ladies are wild and daring, but Hannah seems to be regarded as irrational and crazy. Point in case we last saw her impersonating Sawyer (her secret lover) in an attempt to assassinate the mayor. Her thought was the mayor assigned the jobs so he must be the one that set them up to be killed. We kick off with Hannah in jail and Sawyer visiting her. He tells her that he looked into things and that the mayor wasn’t responsible. He was paid to deliver the jobs and so he was actually just another cog in the system and not the man running the machine. Sawyer uses this to breakdown Hannah’s personality, basically saying that she doesn’t have any patience and just acts whether she ends up being right or wrong in the end doesn’t seem to matter to her. Sawyer also says something interesting, that the town would almost be perfect if she wasn’t in in… but that he would then want to kill himself as a result. I liked this dialogue, but I couldn’t help feel sorry for Hannah even if she didn’t feel sorry for herself.

Meanwhile Betty visits her lady friend. She’s all cleaned up, dressed up and holding flowers when she knocks on her gal’s door. She wants to apologize for… surprise, surprise, Hannah’s actions and try to mend their connection. Her friend tells her that Hannah is a bad person and that she’s not going to let Betty in her life until her friends are a better influence on her life. Hearing that she’s not going to invite crazy into her life via Hannah really bums Betty out. The Queens head to the Merch Guild to figure out their involvement with the jobs that nearly killed them and did kill several of the other adventurers, but will they be another cog in the system?

ratqueens03_coverI like the extra layers added to the character’s this issue. I’m hopefully that Dee Dee will have some next issue since there wasn’t room for her in this issue, but otherwise it was a deep well of character development. Betty stopped being just a stoner Halfling that delivered clever one-liners and stabbed Troll’s eyes out. I really didn’t think I would care about her character, but I did. I think she might have just moved to the top spot for favorite. Another character that I really felt for was Violet. Again her development was great and very different from the other characters. I’m sure that more of her back story will be delved into with future issues and I’m looking forward to it. I said drama in the beginning and there is plenty of that added, but there are also plenty of heartwarming moments added as well. I’m definitely becoming emotionally invested in these characters which only makes reading the series all the more enjoyable.

Hands down my favorite page was Dee Dee carrying Betty. The emotional connection between them is that of sisters and that all comes from the artwork. There’s nothing else after that, but there was something about that page that stayed with me. I think a lot of it has to do with the eyes and the character’s smiles. I also enjoyed every page that Betty was one since Upchurch makes her a very physical character. She’s full of body language and strange expressions that really worked to make me like the character. Its simple things too like dragging a chair over to access a wall safe or hiding a key deep within her pants. The artwork is a huge reason this story is so successful and I look forward to the visuals as much as I look forward to the narrative each issue.

Like I said, this is a different beast than the first two issues, but it’s great because of it. There isn’t a gang of action or non-stop jokes, but there is a heavy connection built between the creators and the readers. This has easily become one of my favorite series in the back half of 2013 and I’m hoping that it has a long run into 2014 and beyond. If you missed the first two issues, you’re in luck; they’re recapped via the dialogue in this issue which means that you can actually start the series here and catch up. It’s very much like a TV show in that regards so check it out because this is a series everyone should be reading.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe Artist: John “Roc” Upchurch Publisher: Image/Shadowline Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 11/27/13