I’ve been catching up on comic books recently and I was so excited to get into the latest Rat Queens trade.
Little did I know (I had not read up on the series in advance, and I’m glad for that), it was also going to be last. At least for now, and at least in trade. According to the Image Comics website, there is one more single issue out there, which I might or might not have purchased already when this post goes up*. I do not want to get into the details leading up to this comics hiatus so I’ll just move on to my thoughts before I decided to investigate.
Honestly, I have mixed feelings about not seeing more of this motley crew of utterly bad ass ladies soon. I like the story and I love that in the issues collected in Vol. 3 we get a few more personal glimpses into the lives of the queens, but I did not care for the art.
Before I get to the rant about the drawing, I have to say I did enjoy the story and I’m sure it’s getting better later on. There’s the usual amount of drinking, drugs, and relatively well-meant insults in-between the swearing and the pummeling, but also secrets and intrigue and, oh yeah, a visit to Mage U. I liked the fact that we get to see the queens on their own for a while at the university and that we see more of their individuality when they’re left to their own devices. The characters stay true to themselves, even if it doesn’t move the plot along. There were a few random moments – like the one with the dragon and his garbage pile? – and some loose ends – like the one with the sword from the dragon’s garbage pile? What was all that about?
Speaking of not getting it, what happened to that art? I realise I might be a minority, or there might be some degree of solidarity in the business, but I was genuinely surprised to mostly read praise on Tess Fowler’s art on the back cover. Was it because of the underlying issues with previous artist and co-creator Roc Upchurch or just to reinforce the new artist on the series, I don’t know. What I do know is that Dee’s hair is totally out of control and those Rogue-esque white streaks framing her face did not work for me. Or it could’ve been that snout of a nose Fowler put on her. And while we’re on faces – Betty is completely unrecognisable, at least as a smidgen, and Violet’s cheekbones are more pronounced than her brother’s, which combined with the beard basically makes her look like a man. I’m all for artistic expression and creative decisions – which is why I won’t bitch about everyone (apart from Betty) suddenly gaining 10+ kg and doubling their cleavage – but it all boils down to seeing some very rudimentary drawings by the last two chapters, some very weird facial expressions that did not fit the characters at all, and completely random things like Hannah’s tattoos being vastly different from previous issues.
I did enjoy Hannah’s transformation in the end, though, and it’s the main reason I looked into when the next collection is coming out. Unfortunately, there might be some time still until we get to see what becomes of the ramshackle fellowship, especially when after seeing the cover of the last single issue, which does not feature my favourite rockabilly elven mage. From what I understand, the rat queens are not going away yet, but they’re planned to return as a webcomic before they do so in print. I’ll keep an eye out for news about it, and hope the come back will not disappoint.
*I am currently on my honeymoon, this post is scheduled since last week 😉