The A-Team of modern fantasy comic books are back and no time is wasted as Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch dive right into what will likely be a highly character driven, horror based story in Rat Queens #6.
Picking up the morning after the “Night of Regrets” that found the remaining questing parties celebrating their victory over the trolls that attacked Palisade, the Rat Queens awaken to varying states of satisfaction. Before the girls can start laying into Hannah over her on-again-off-again relationship with Sawyer, they’re summoned to the Mayor’s office. Thankfully, they’re not in trouble, even if they did manage to break off the penis of a public statue during the drunken night no one can seem to remember correctly. Turns out, not a big deal to the Mayor. He’d rather reward the Queens for their service in defending Palisade, even if they were responsible for the attack, and ensure a more cooperative relationship by sending them to deal with some mushroom people in the forest. Elsewhere, Sawyer, after being chewed out by his second-in-command, Lola, over his questionable taste in women, finds a clue as to where Bernadette might be. Going solo to follow-up on the lead, Sawyer is confronted by a person from his past, and he’s looking for revenge.
The past and present colliding seems to be the theme of the day. While the first arc gave us a phenomenal introduction to the world of the Rat Queens, Wiebe and Upchurch can finally settle in and truly start to immerse the reader into the setting as well as the characters. While we got the briefest glimpse of Dee’s past at the end of the previous arc, it appears her religious upbringing is going to get more “screen time” with the introduction of Mezikiah, her much older husband. Even Hannah’s past actions come front and center. Her contentious relationship with Sawyer and, well, just about everybody in Palisade notwithstanding, Hannah’s darker side, which manifested when she thought Violet was mortally wounded by the trolls, indicates that her friendships with her fellow Rat Queens are an important piece in keeping her grounded and under control. How effective that is at times is anybody’s guess since Hannah just does what Hannah does.
What I especially enjoyed about this issue was the exploration into the real dynamics of the Rat Queens as a group of friends. They clearly love each other, but Wiebe shows that friendship is more than just getting along. The four Queens are strong and distinct personalities, which means they’re going to clash from time to time. Violet and Hannah get into it when they think the Mayor is going to kick them out of Palisade for defacing, or de-dicking, city property – throwing insults at each other the way only someone who knows you can. Even when the girls are genuinely concerned for each other, questioning Dee’s disappearance during the party or confronting Hannah about how she feels about Sawyer, their reactions are real in the way that anyone would react when their friends point out something they don’t want to hear. Though I will say that the scene between Hannah and Betty in the treetops was very touching. Betty’s just the best at melting even the coldest of hearts.
Roc Upchurch’s art continues to be top-notch. The issue shows a veritable playground of artistry ranging from brief nudity, Mushroom People, badass shots of Sawyer in the rain, and, oh yeah, some really messed up panels that will make your eyes bleed while you gag! We’re venturing into some new territory and I’m pretty sure this issue is only giving us a taste of what’s yet to come. And that is a disturbing thought.
Rating – 10/10
Final Thoughts: That last page…I can’t unsee it!