I’m going to be honest and start off this Rat Queens #2 review by saying I’m not really sure how to review it. In some ways it’s still the same Rat Queens we know and love. The ladies are kicking ass and taking names, drinking, and fighting, sometimes all at the same time. They’re back in Palisade, ready to take over as the best damn adventuring group around. And yet, something’s “off.”
Last issue, there was a lot of set-up to account for the slight retcon. The ladies were staying at Hannah’s step-dad’s place just after dealing with Dee’s crazy god. As the issue ended with Betty being trapped in a giant bird, I figured the set-up/retcon was finished. I was wrong. Now they’ve returned to Palisade, and we learn this issue that two years have passed. In this time a lot has changed in Palisade — most notably a cult has formed.
As a long-time RPG player, I recognize the beginnings of the “campaign hook.” It’s obvious something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and the Queens are going to have to solve it. Especially because Orc Dave is part of said cult. A fact which apparently only slightly bothered Violet; certainly not enough to mention it to anyone other than Dee in two years. I assume the cult has something to do with Dee’s crazy cult — Bernadette’s comments certainly allude to that — so that might explain, but it was an odd story choice.
I ended the issue with a lot of questions surrounding the who/what/when/where/why of the two-year gap. What’s most frustrating is that I’m not sure I really cared how long they were gone from Palisade. Had the time gap not been addressed, I wouldn’t have asked. But now that it’s been called out, it’s really irking me. I come to Rat Queens for the kickass Queens, not for logic. It almost feels as though Wiebe doesn’t trust his fanbase to follow him down this road.
The issue isn’t bad, Dee, Hannah, Betty, Violet, and Braga are all themselves. Sneaking off to a graveyard to raise the dead? That’s so Hannah. Braga fussing about her new dress? Totally Braga. Betty hallucinating a story about a kindly candy merchant? The Bettiest of Betty things. And yet, something feels “off” about the whole thing. I can’t put my finger on it, either. The only thing I can attribute it to is the amount of set-up Kurtis Wiebe insists on inserting into these first two issues. They’re the goddamn Rat Queens, man. They need no explanation.