By Dustin Cabeal
I’m not going to sugar coat it, I feel off of this series with all the delays and art changes. It’s unfortunate, but it just happens. I feel terrible for Kurtis J. Wiebe because I’m sure it happened to a lot of other people as well. It was just a weird bunch of events that kept the book from chugging along and so here it is, continuing, but new.
The thing is, this issue both succeeds and fails at being an entirely new first issue. It gives a lot of information about the characters; you get to know them and their world quite well throughout the course of the issue. The “but,” is that even with reading the majority of the last series, if you missed the final arc you’ll be left in the dark about most of the backstory brought up in this issue. Sure, you’ll know about them going forward, and that’s where the issue succeeds, but the failure is in making new readers feel left out.
Now, I know that die-hard fans are screaming at me saying, “well then go pick up the last arc and get caught up!” Yes, because we all know that comic readers do just that. That in the same situation, you’d do just that, but I bet if you think long and hard and look at your collection, you’ll see that it just isn’t true. Only die-hards will do that, but then they probably didn’t miss it in the first place. In that sense, I think this first issue has an uphill battle because it tries to be welcoming but doesn’t quite make it. It’s like making a new friend, and then you hang out with their other friends, and you get what they’re talking about, but you’re still kind of lost on all the details.
“Oh, shit, did you hear about Dylan? He totally got caught giving away booze to customers.”
Now, you understand that Dylan has made a mistake, is in trouble, but in the back of your head you’re screaming “Who the fuck is Dylan and why do I care?” That’s how this first issue of Rat Queens reads. There is plenty of humor, but not all of it worked this time around. It’s almost as if Wiebe is trying to get back into the groove of finding the character’s voices. Because again, this isn’t a first issue, but rather a relaunched first issue. I don’t blame Wiebe for doing that either. Why not start fresh at this point and hopefully gains some traction that was lost through delays?
The art is a strange beast. Usually, I really like Owen Gieni’s artwork. It seemed like he’d be a perfect fit for the series, but there was something that didn’t land. Perhaps I’m not as familiar with Gieni’s style as I thought or maybe he’s changed it to fit with the book better. Whatever the case, it wasn’t as awe-inspiring as previous artists on the series have been nor did it amplify the visual humor of the series.
The really difficult question that you’re asked at the end of this issue is, did it do enough to bring you back to the series? Have you grown as a reader or changed in your tastes in your time away from Rat Queens or does it still have enough of that spark to keep you for another issue, another arc, another series? You’ll likely figure out my answer to that question next month in the form of a review or the lack of one.
Rat Queens v2 #1