THE RAT QUEENS ARE BACK YOU GUYS! YASSS KWEEN! <ahem> OK. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk for real. Rat Queens #1 — which is technically issue #17, or #18 if you count the #0 issue they released of the web comics — is back, and it confirms my suspicions of pulling a retcon, as opposed to a reboot.
The Queens are hanging out with Hannah’s step-father, who called her at the end of issue #10, before jumping back into adventuring in earnest. Some things have not changed for the Rat Queens: they still like to drink and party, Hannah has some issues with her parents, Betty is… well, Betty, and Braga just belongs with the Queens as a full-fledged member. These are all good things to establish.
Some things have changed though, without much by way of explanation. Hannah, for instance, is now sporting her horns fully grown out. You may recall her hair was used to hide her horns, which were either broken or shaved, because she didn’t want people to know what she was. Now, suddenly, she’s rocking them. I dig the look, and I’d love to think that somewhere along the lines Hannah realized that her friends don’t give a crap if she has horns, but it’s offered with no commentary. It’s just a new “thing.” Also, apparently Hannah’s step-father merely called to let her know they could crash at his place? That’s not really discussed.
The Daves are not mentioned, which is a little bit of a disappointment. Wiebe has clearly retconned the Mage U storyline, and while I would argue that’s a good thing, the last issue ended with Violet cleaving Orc Dave in half. Which was a helluva cliff hanger to the leave the series on, and while I will assume that went out the window with Mage U, we don’t know for certain. Basically what I’m saying is, I need proof and confirmation that Orc Dave is still alive. Because I love Orc Dave.
Overall this issue is kind of meh, unfortunately, as it feels more akin to Kurtin Wiebe saying “OK, this is where we are, and this is where we’re picking up,” as opposed to an opener for a new story. It’s not bad, it’s just a little oddly paced; it doesn’t feel like a true Rat Queens issue until the last pages.
Also, now we have Barrie proving to be more of a semi-antagonistic presence for both Violet and the Rat Queens. Oh, sure, it’s funny to see Barrie’s Cat Kings — the gender-swapped versions of Hannah and Dee are particularly hilarious — but I’m not sure where they’re going with that. I kind of liked the idea of Barrie and Violet having sibling rivalry, but it being more of a jovial nature. This feels more … direct.
Despite some odd art, changes and weird pacing, Rat Queens #1 is still a Rat Queens story, and that’s a great thing. We’ve been away for far too long, and the last couple of pages make me feel as though we’re going to pick back up into the groove of things and all well be right in the world of Palisade. Or, as right as it can be with with this merry band of murdering drunks on the loose. God, I love these ladies.
Our Rating: YUS
Author: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artists: Own Gieni
Publisher: Image Comics
Publish Date: 03/01/2017
Acquired via Purchase