If I was previously uncertain how I feel about the new Rat Queens, Rat Queens #3 has finally convinced me that I don’t like it. A statement which breaks me heart to type. Dee, Hannah, Violet, Betty, and Braga are all back and in action and I couldn’t be less happy with the results.
The biggest reason is that these don’t feel like the same characters that I feel head-over-heels in love with. The old Rat Queens were the biggest badasses in the room who drank and partied and had a very clear “no fucks given” policy about life. They were loud-mouthed and uncouth, but they had the mettle to back up their words. It’s not that they were invincible but rather they could hold their own in a fight and were generally prepared for a fight. These are not those Queens.
These Queens are drunks who drink and crack one-liners almost constantly and are continually being one-upped by other teams. It’s not that I opposed to them facing a little adversity, but rather, I’m irritated that these Rat Queens seem almost reluctant to fight or do anything other than drink and crack one-liners.
As an example, Orc Dave is still a member of a mysterious cult, and Violet still refuses to help him or do anything. This is not the same Violet who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Hannah as she screamed “You’re goddamn right we’re the Rat Queens!” to an angry mob that wanted their heads. This is not the same Violet who was dragged away from Orc Dave to go fight a giant squid demi-god. The same extends to the other characters. It’s as if they collectively awakened and forgot who they were.
It doesn’t help that the plot of this first arc is painfully slow. Generally, by issue #3, a comic writer reveals enough that a reader can guess where the plot is heading, at the very least. I get that Violet is having to prove she’s “better” than Barrie, and they’ve now introduced a group of warriors who investigate cults — which will undoubtedly be important — but it still feels as though the Queens are directionless.
I’ve made a pact with a friend to continue reading until this first arc is over to see if it improves. It’s possible these first three issues will just be that weird, rocky period as the author gets his feet back under him. But so far, Kurtis Wiebe is starting to feel a little like Axl Rose — unable to work with Slash (Roc Upchurch), but lost without his influence. More and more I’m realizing that Rat Queens was a joint creation that needs both creators. I’ll never stop being disappointed that Upchurch turned out to be a pretty bad human being.
Our Rating: Meh
Author: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artists: Owen Gieni
Publisher: Image Comics
Publish Date: 05/24/2017
Acquired via Purchase