Comic Book Review: Rat Queens #13

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It hit hard realizing that we really went a whole month without Rat Queens. Just a bit too early in a new story arc to have that sort of break in the schedule if you ask me. Nonetheless, Rat Queens #13 was an issue to look forward to when what has unfolded so far has been anything but simple for the Queens in their separate adventures. They may be back to doing what they do best, but that doesn’t mean their quests will be anymore straightforward than usual.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure of how I felt with this new story arc. There was some exciting developments here and there, but nothing that stuck out in terms of staying power with the direction that this was taking. A month without Rat Queens did feel like forever with how many other things releasing in-between, but that was probably the refresher needed to jump back into this story with a new perspective. Let’s start with this so-called slice of heaven in Heaven that Dee has. This has been an intriguing story to follow for the way that she has been thrust into the life of a god. She may not be there or understand what this means, but the great thing is that we do not either. This was a monumental step taken towards worldly exploration that we haven’t gotten before. For where that took us this month was a bit chilling for what we saw was the real reason for Dee summoned to the realm of the gods, but enjoyable for what this revealed about a certain god whose name has been very consistent throughout this series. It was cool to put a face to the name, and a story to where this god came from.

As for Violent and the rest, it was a crazy scene for what we jumped back into. The Queens are a formidable bunch for what they are capable of. They even had a few extra hands on deck to see this new mission through. However, it said a lot about how much they bargained for when this new enemy really had the kind of power to push them against a wall. That is quite the accomplishment to shake things up. Now that does make it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel for this half of the story, but you are in turn focused on what it would take for them to get out of this situation.

How that happens? That was what made this story worthwhile so far. Initially I was also a bit worried about how both stories might take too much from each other. One half was a full-sized adventure, the other was a very ambitious journey to some place greater. How could you possibly progress with both halves and satisfy readers with the destination? The answer to that question was an astonishing sight taken form on the very last page. It came out of left field, but for what it meant, it was completely welcomed. I contrast to the last two issues of this story arc, this was the first time where I was left genuinely anxious for what the next issue had in store.

As usual, there was a lot to admire about the artwork for this issue. Owen Gieni put the work into giving us two engaging stories unfolding side by side, I say side by side, because both were lined up perfectly for the underlying story that brought everything together by the end of this issue. There was a lot of moving pieces in the underground scene. For the most part this was handled with great clarity. I enjoyed that there was no punches pulled when they took on this enemy and its forces. This created plenty of room to capture some characters doing things you either wanted to see more of or doing things you’ve never seen before. The newer enemies introduced were quite terrifying for what they were capable of. Credit to Gieni and Wiebe that in general they aren’t afraid to actually hurt these characters to show how dangerous a situation is. That may have created a few moments of cringe for some infectious actions, but you do what you have to do for the reaction. What stood out most was that very last page. Probably the best character design that Gieni has pulled off so far. He has done some astonishing work up to this point, but with this one character he always seems to raise the bar. Don’t even get me started on that distinct shade of purple. The only thing that threw me for a bit of a loop was that there was one more action spread than I would have liked. They are great when you have the book in your hands, but when digital it can take a bit more time to process everything that cuts from one page into the next.

Rat Queens #13 was a big step up from the past two issues. Not to mention raises the stakes in a big way that challenges what you initially assumed this story would turn out to be. Where some heroes fall, a couple rise to the occasion in the best way possible for them.

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8.8