By Cat Wyatt
Issue #8 of the Rat Queens doesn’t waste any time, throwing us right into the thick of things. The opening scene is that of Hannah and Sawyer Silver on a ship facing towards what has to be the gloomiest island I’ve ever seen. That combined with Sawyer’s statement of ‘this is the end,’ and I’m more than a little concerned about what is happening to Hannah, and worried about where the rest of the Queens are.
Apparently, that scene is two days ahead of the rest of the story, as evidenced by the quick jump back in time. Hannah, Betty, and Dee are working on a quest together…and is anybody else wondering where Violet and Braga are? I feel like when infiltrating a dangerous location such as this, having one or two armed fights is usually pretty handy (not to mention I’m very concerned about their absences, especially with everything else that has been going on lately).
On the bright side, Hannah has a shiny new wand…though it’s a little overly inclined to kill (read: explode with gusto) any person she aims it at…so there’s that. From what I understand (thanks to Betty and Dee) this wasn’t supposed to be a violent mission (though why the Rat Queens would take a mission where they can’t kill their enemies, I’m not so sure). So the wands over-excitement isn’t a good thing right now (not that Hannah seems to care – something is seriously going on with her).
Flash forward to the creepy island again; Sawyer is bringing Hannah here for her banishment. I know people have tried to banish/exile her in the past, so she must have done something pretty awful to get it to stick this time. I’m not sure I want to see what it was (though I suppose there’s a chance she's wrongfully blamed due to her heritage).
If you ever had any doubt about what ended up happening to Hannah’s relationship with Sawyer…well you can stop wondering. I know I for one suspected it was over, but without seeing him, I couldn’t be certain (for all I know Sawyer had ended up much like Dave – can’t really have a relationship with somebody acting that way). I can’t say I’m surprised that they’re over, though I would like to have seen the final conversation (assuming they were mature enough to have had one).
By the way, the creepy island? It holds Valle, the Asylum of the exiled. So pretty much any hopes I had about this being a weird mission just went down the drain. Oh well, I tried! I wonder if Hannah’s stoicism will help her endure whatever this place has to offer her.
Meanwhile (well, in the past if we’re getting technical), the mission our queens are on isn’t going so well. Without any actual fighters things are difficult, to say the least (and Hannah going splat happy isn’t really helping either – I think it’s making the slug things angrier and riled up). Oddly enough, Betty seems to be the only one to remember Violet…everyone else seems to think she’s some sort of repeating fantasy or hallucination Betty keeps having. That’s more than a little concerning to me, but also has me wondering, whatever this magic is, could Smidgen be immune to it? I wish there were more of them around, so I could be sure (for all I know it’s the specific type and combination of mushrooms Betty is eating that is making her immune).
I can’t imagine how Betty must feel in that position. Everyone thinks she’s making Violet up (not to mention they don’t believe her when she says Braga is a Rat Queen), which is pretty awful. Betty is by far the most emotional of the group, so she truly considers all of the girls her friends, so to lose one and then top it off by having nobody believe you? That’d be unbelievably rough. On the bright side, Betty’s girlfriend Faeyri seems willing to believe Betty, which is sweet. She knows Betty well enough to trust her, and she aches alongside Betty for not knowing how to fix things. So at least there’s some support to be found.
Hopping back to the future/imprisoned/exiled Hannah, we see that she’s in more or less the same amount of trouble one would expect of her. A creepy mage in trippy colored clothing (whom I’m thoroughly convinced is behind all of the missing characters) is speaking to her (likely trying to con her into letting him place a spell or some such on her), and he sounds just as creepy as he looks. I suspect Hannah will be our next missing person; but with her being exiled will we even be able to confirm that?
I can’t be the only one that’s dying to know what’s going on here. We’ve been handed little bread crumbs to keep us going, but the second Violet disappeared the trickle of information suddenly didn’t feel like enough. How many more Rat Queens will have to disappear before the puzzle is solved? Will it come down to just poor little Betty? For her sake I hope not.
The artwork for this issue was fantastic, as usual. I absolutely adore the idea they’ve been going with for the last few issues; having one of the queens missing in each cover (which is made obvious by the big white cutout in their shape). For this issue Dee is already gone (having had this treatment in a previous issue), but Braga’s white space is fairly evident. I also can’t get over how eerily beautiful Valle is; it’s so wonderfully drawn. The rain was a nice touch as well.
Rat Queens v2 #8