By Cat Wyatt
It’s time for another Rat Queens issue! I’m sure I’m not the only fan out there that’s been wondering what has been going on, and this issue mercifully starts to give us answers. Granted, it also gave me a lot more questions, but one step at a time, right? Keeping with the style of the last few issues we see yet another Rat Queen missing from the cover; this time it’s Violet who’s in the white silhouette. That leaves just Hannah and Betty on the cover. I wonder who will be the last gal standing? (For the record: I’m rooting for Betty).
This is one of those issues that will all over the timeline, so get ready for some twisting moments. It all starts out with a flashback to Dee’s younger years. This was back before she became quite so disillusioned with her religion; before she left her people and her husband. It’s even before her marriage. Here she is betrothed to Mezikiah, but I don’t think she loves him. In fact, it seems like she is very much in love with another man. This would certainly explain some of the oddities we’ve seen in her relationship previously (and why she was so okay with leaving her husband as she did).
From there it jumps to another memory of Dee’s, her introduction to the Rat Queens. Violet, Hannah, and Betty are already a team at this point, but since they’ve recently lost their healer, they’re understandably on the hunt for a new one. So finding Dee may have been pure luck, but it did end up working out for them, didn’t it?
Another memory. I think it’s still from Dee’s perspective, but it could really be from any of them (though if not Dee it’s most likely from Hannah). This one is from the rampage Hannah tried to go on in order to save her father from the mage council. For such a big moment it’s surprising that we could fit this in a single page. This was the moment everything started going wrong for the Rat Queens.
Here we jump to another memory. It’s Violet killing Orc Dave. Finally we get back around to that moment from the earlier series. Orc Dave (and the rest of the tavern) is some sort of weird doppelganger, and Violet only figured it out because of her…intimate knowledge of Orc Dave. How the whole tavern got replaced and where the real versions are I couldn’t tell you. It’s worth noting that Hannah is nowhere to be seen during this scene.
From here things start moving forward rapidly, suddenly we find ourselves immersed in events we haven’t yet witnessed. Dee is leaving the Rat Queens, leaving just Violet and Betty to make their adventures and keep the reputation going.
Flash forward even more time (give or take twenty years), and Dee is the High Priest. This is surprising, considering how much effort she’s put into making her own path in life. The next page (the first time this issue that the story has lasted more than a single page) explains her motivations more, at least. Dee is with that man I mentioned earlier, the one she truly loved? His name is Adua (love the name). He’s her lover and her confidant.
Dee came back to her people because she knew that if her religion died there’d be nobody siphoning power from their god (and we all know how bad that would be). This is a pretty noble sacrifice, even for one as honorable and stubborn as Dee.
It’s also likely the reason why she didn’t hesitate to take a vacation, given the chance. A strange redhead portals into their room (no joke) to deliver a message, and suddenly Dee is off (I wonder if Adua will hold down the fort while she’s gone?).
But where is Dee rushing off to? I think the better way to phrase that would be to ask who she’s running off to see. Obviously it’s the Rat Queens! (Minus Hannah). Twenty years may have passed, but these ladies are clearly still very close. They’ve all grown in their own ways, and it’s kind of sweet (and sad) to see. Violet gave up her bead rebellion, she’s also settled down and had five children (I think that redhead is one of them). Betty has two children of her own (my money says they’re from different fathers though – Betty doesn’t strike me as the type to settle down with one guy forever).
But they’re not here to catch up, as fun as that would be. There’s something killing the land that Violet is in charge of, and rather than send her best men to take care of it, she’d like to handle it personally (I think this may be a not so subtle excuse to get out of the house and away from five children for a few days). And really, there’s no other backup then her girls, am I right?
You know what’s crazy? Everything I’ve described to you has happened in the first half of this issue. I can’t believe how much information they were able to cram in here; it doesn’t feel overwhelming or rushed at all.
Anyway, I had a pretty bad feeling about what was causing the land to die…and I can’t imagine I’m the only one with tummy butterflies at the thought. Hannah has been gone a long time…and with her stubbornness and more dangerous tendencies…well let’s just say that I think the Rat Queens were a positive influence on her, and without them I’d be very worried about what path she’d end up going down.
And it would appear that I have good reason to be so concerned. It’s actually a shame that I’m right, all things considered. I would have given anything for the events right now to not be happening. I can’t pretend it isn’t’ though, she’s even monologue-ing like a true villain. I can’t just go and ignore that, can I?
Thanks to the way the story has been laid out, we have the privilege of seeing how their paths split; we got to see the very moment they lost Hannah to her other half (a figure of speech more than anything here; I’m not referring to her demon half per se). Thankfully Dee is an incredibly sharp woman, as she also sees how the pieces of the puzzle all fit together. Even better, she has a way of solving things (that won’t end with a Rat Queens battle – at least I hope not).
This issue explained so much, and yet I have questions. At the end they were asking about the cult – I’m assuming this is the silent Cult that we see Orc Dave and many other characters join. How do they play into this? Are they a direct result of what Dee did? Speaking of ramifications, how much do you want to bet that the creepy priest (the one that writes people out of their own timelines) was created by Dee’s actions? A weakness in time could theoretically cause all sorts of havoc…
I’ve been waiting for this issue for so long. Okay, not this issue specifically, more that I’ve been waiting for a conclusion to the plots started before the series got rebooted. I had seen the author’s promise to explain it all, but up until now I had been scratching my head trying to figure out the connection.
There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, but based on how much ground was covered this issue I’m pretty confident that the next issue will explain most of everything else. Or at least start to.
The artwork was absolutely stunning, as usual. It was fun seeing the ‘adult’ versions of everyone. I actually agree with the stylistic choices they made for everyone too. Dee is striking, but frankly she’s got that type of face where she’ll look lovely no matter her age. Betty hasn’t changed much, other than her hair getting lighter and more ‘matronly’ styled. Violet looks like she’d fit in just fine with a minivan, which oddly suits her. And Hannah…wow Hannah. She’s aged the most visibly, which makes sense – the strain she put herself under would do a number on anyone. Her style hasn’t changed much, all things considered.
Rat Queens v2 #9
Publisher: Image Comics