For those who fight hard, the reward is to party hard and in the city of Palisade there are two things the Rat Queens are good at: fighting and partying. Actually, they’re really good at getting into trouble, followed closely by getting laid, and I’m pretty sure the motivation to investigate assassination attempts on their lives falls somewhere on the list. But for the time being, let’s just say that fighting and celebrating are their main priorities because after one doozy of a battle against a troll horde, a good party full of regrets the morning after is a necessity.
With Palisade under siege by trolls after Gary had to go a blab his mouth off about the Rat Queens celebrating killing the troll to the recently deceased monster’s girlfriend (seriously, Gary, you are one arrow to the knee away from troll-bait!), the Queens, the soldiers of Palisade, and the remaining quest groups fight them off in spectacular fashion. Unfortunately, one of the Rat Queens may not make it and if any of you have seen the previews for this issue, then you know things aren’t looking good for Violet. I don’t know how many of you have taken a spear through the throat, but the recovery process is not easy. The possible loss of one of her friends, however, throws Hannah into a tizzy and we really get to see her let loose with the necromantic magic. Given the right incentive, Hannah is a one woman army of magical whoop-ass as the female troll learns in the most violent, bloody way possible. Luckily, Betty’s there to calm Hannah down with the news that not all is lost for their friend, ending her rampage and the battle.
Though the battle takes up a majority of the issue, what I particularly enjoyed, other than Roc Upchurch’s amazing battle sequences, were the connective threads of the storyline that started the book. While it seemed like part of the story ended with the discovery of Old Lady Bernadette’s involvement in the assassination plot, Kurtis J. Wiebe was clearly just getting started. Her loan from Gerrig has now put the merchant on the radar of the Queens and Gerrig is none too happy about that. His plans for revenge hinge on keeping a low profile and from the looks of it Dee’s background as a former follower of N’Rygoth might play into the proceedings.
Of all the Rat Queens, Dee’s backstory has only been hinted at, leaving her an effective warrior and teammate, but still the most underdeveloped of the four. Not that the other three are completely open books but we’ve gotten some insight into Violet’s honor-bound kickassery that put her in conflict with her brother (she also shaved her beard, which apparently makes her look way hotter), Hannah’s proclivities towards trouble-making and her blasé surliness that constantly put her at odds with former lover, and current “boss”, Sawyer, and Betty’s…well, you name the vice and Betty has probably done it, but she’s also a bit of a hopeless romantic. Dee, on the other hand, still remained a mystery, so to get not just a proactive Dee further looking into what Bernadette was actually up to, but also some insight into Dee’s character felt like we finally had a well-rounded look at all of the Rat Queens. That Dee is all confidence on the battlefield and amongst her fellow Queens but socially inept outside of those comfort zones makes her that much more endearing as a person.
For the record, the party scene at the end is just the best. Like, the best. It perfectly encapsulates everything I love about this book, bringing the modern into the fantastical setting instead of the other way around. Is there a genre for that yet? Because I think Wiebe and Upchurch might’ve invented it.
Rating – 10/10
Final Thoughts: “This book lets me engage it on my own terms.” Couldn’t have put it any better, Dee.
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