By Cat Wyatt
I’m not going to lie, I naturally just assumed the Rat Queens were famous (or notorious) enough for this girl to have heard about them without ever actually having met them. So imagine my surprise when Madeline heads downstairs and starts serving them! Not only that, but they (and by they I mostly mean Violet) know Madeline on a first name basis and everything. It’s pretty clear that Madeline worships Violet, but I also think it’s more than that – she sees her as a role model, this amazing adventurer capable of taking care of herself (and realistically Violet is probably the best one in the group to look up to…though there’s not a ton of competition).
Am I the only one that didn’t even stop to question why the Rat Queens were day drinking? Apparently, they all assumed since Betty called them there during the day to drink, it meant she had a job. I just figured it was because she wanted to drink, go figure. But alas, Betty has a (charitable) job for the ladies in question; her friend Jason has gone missing. Which is concerning because he had previously been talking about wondering the woods for a specific location that caused travelers, for lack of a better description, to get high (I know, but this is Betty and her friends we’re talking about here).
The Rat Queens don’t take many jobs for free, but obviously, they make exceptions for friends, especially when the request comes from the cute and sweet Betty (I mean, how could you possibly say no to her?). So off into the woods the ladies hike! There are a few distractions along the way (I’ll let you read those for yourself) but the ladies quickly pick up Jason’s trail…in a completely different part of the woods. Considering I didn’t get the impression that Jason was the best with directions, this didn’t surprise me one bit.
So here’s where things get weird, and yes, I mean that in the Rat Queen weird sense, which makes it way more insane than standard. As the Rat Queens presumably enter the area causing the high (a fact that is immediately indicated by the sudden change in art style and the bright pink footprints Jason left behind) things get…odd. I’ll admit I didn’t completely love the new art style – it’s going for a retro/trippy cartoon feel, which I love, but it also kind of gives off the impression of movement, and made me feel a bit ill if I looked at it too long (perhaps because I was reading a digital copy? I’m going to have to check the paper copies and see how they look). So consider yourself warned.
There are so many little hat tips to classic cartoons in this scene, even the changes made to the Rat Queens is reminiscent of it. Betty has a mushroom hat (because why wouldn’t she?), Violet has her beard again (with the additional benefit of it being capable of making a fist and punching. Because of course!), Dee has tentacles (because that’s sort of a skirt, right?), Braga got a talking ax (which I love), and Hannah got the Betty Boop treatment (hers was by far the mildest, though she does look good).
So you remember how I mentioned that things get pretty weird here? Well…yeah. Try imagining a bunch of pasty-versions of Jason popping out of a bunch of like baby Nematodes, and you’ve basically got it (not even making it up either). For the record, I loved the quasi-Nematode reference, what a fun twist on spawning enemies while also having a hallucinogenic-inducing creature run around!
I still maintain that Braga’s ax is the highlight of this whole trip (pun intended). An ax is built for battle, so naturally, that’s the last thing this little guy wants to do. The whole interaction had me giggling to no end, it was amazing. I love the humor Rat Queens authors are always able to fling about so casually.
There was actually a purpose to introducing Madeline, for those that were wondering (I know I was!). They appear to be setting up for another long-term plot (one I’m suspecting is related to other events, but more on that in a minute). Madeline is devastated by the realization that the Rat Queens don’t take her seriously – and frankly, I don’t blame her (though for what it’s worth, I don’t think Violet meant what she said in the way that Madeline took it). While wallowing in an alley, a strange figure approaches her and offers to save her (kids, please don’t let strange men ‘save’ you!). Upon her acceptance of this offer she disappears.
Now, I don’t have much to go on here, but I’m wondering if this has any relation to what has been going on since issue one, with characters darning white robes and staring off at the sky. Obviously, they haven’t disappeared like Madeline has, but what are the odds that there are two strange things happening that effect side characters? Does anybody have any alternative theories? I’d love to hear them!
Rat Queens #6