Rat Queens #16
From MAJK’s Coffee Corner:
Rat Queens #16 in out today and I’m more excited than Betty at an open bar!
The Queens are back in business but all is not as it was for our darlings of decadence. Vi’s gone. Betty’s spending more time puking than fighting. Dee is super sensitive about being a god. Hannah… well, Hannah is cranky as ever but there’s something off magically. It seems the only one keeping it together is Braga and she’s working hard to mentor Maddie.
Spoiler Warning: If you have not read Rat Queens #16 There May Be Spoilers Below
Publisher: Image Writer & Letterer: Ryan Ferrier Cover & Art: Priscilla Petraites
Colors: Marco Lesko Editor: Melanie Hackett
Covers for Rat Queens #16
While I miss having the variant covers, Rat Queens #16 cover is magnificent in its ominous brilliance. Who is that mysterious masked figure? Are those chains a metaphor for the issues our ladies are dealing with or are they actually confined? Petraites tease us with a cover that perfectly sets us up for this new story arc.
A Fresh Start:
After the glorious wedding of Vi and Orc Dave, we begin a new story arc with the wonderful new creative team, who have already proven they’re up to the task with the fevered fun of Swamp Romp. The Once And Future King, Part One, begins with our ladies adjusting to a number of huge changes.
Hannah has lost most of one of her arms. Dee is adjusting to being a god which, given Dee’s history of feelings regarding deities, is complicated at best. Braga is trying to show Maddie the adventuring ropes. And Betty, well, our little Smidgen has been having a lot of trouble just standing upright. So much has changed for our Queens that the only thing that seems to be the same is that they are broke. That seems to be their permanent financial status for more than a few reasons.
Who Is That Masked Man
The first three pages of Rat Queens #16 focuses on a brutal hooded figure whom we can assume is the masked guy from the cover. He’s a nasty piece of work who usurps an entire kingdom by using their pacifist ideology against them. I won’t spoil the big reveal but I will say you’ve seen him before. He’s got a plan, that much is clear and from the looks of it, he’s invested years into it. This doesn’t bode well for our ladies nor for Palisades.
If Anything Can Go Wrong…
From the start, our ladies are struggling to complete a quest. There’s something missing and it isn’t just Vi. The lack of cohesion results in an epic Queens meltdown that leads them to realize they’ve got to address a few things. In Rat Queens #16 our ladies are at their worst. It’s not that their situation is as dire as when they were facing the Fleshers, but that they, each of them, are in a place where self-doubt and self-destruction are the order of the day.
Vi is no longer with the Queens and the gaping hole she left is a raw and bleeding wound that none of the girls have quite come to terms with.
As any woman can tell you from real life experience, that is exactly when some jerkwad decides to screw with your world. This particular jerkwad brought an army. He’s caught Palisades by surprise but it looks as if Palisades isn’t his main focus. Can the Queens pull it together to send him and his goons packing? I have to say, it doesn’t look good.
Art & Writing of Rat Queens #16
Ferrier writes a setup that says epic adventure from the start. He also stays true to the thing we love about the Rat Queens – Sisterhood. He doesn’t gloss over the huge changes that have occurred in the lives of our ladies. His characterization of their humanity (Orcity, Elfity, Smidgenity…?) does him and the Queens’ credit.
The ending of the last arc brought life-changing events for every single Queen and in Rat Queens #16 Ferrier lets us see the ugly side of coping with changes of that level. I have no doubt our ladies will come through stronger and more badass than before but watching their journey within the context of an epic adventure has me all in on this series.
Priscilla Petraites nails the art for Rat Queens #16 which is made all the more gorgeous by Lesko’s colors*. As a team, they simply rock. The first three pages felt like they dropped out of an Assasins Creed game in their viciousness. In spite of the victims’ dialogue in those early pages, it’s Petraites artwork that truly communicates just how bad this hooded monster really is. It’s grim and gory and yet, Lesko’s colors have no problem bouncing into the perpetually snarky light when the story transitions to the Queens. Betty’s expression went she realizes what’s going on at Hannah’s is priceless.
Rating: 9.5/10 Pull List Material
1 – 2 Stars = Take a Pass
3 – 4 Stars = Give it A Look
5 – 6 Stars = Borrow or Browse
6 – 7 Stars = Buy
8 – 10 Stars = Pull List Material
Rat Queens #16 prove this new team is up to the daunting task of proving just how enduring in incredible the Rat Queens series can be. As a long time (I’m talking single issues going all the way to Volume 1 issue 1) fan I am flat out excited to see what is happening here and this issue serves to heighten that enthusiasm
MAJK’s Age Recommendation:
My age recommendation for Rat Queens #16 is Mature. I’ll call this one straight 18+ for parents and leave it there with the suggestion they read it before deciding. I’m calling it this because aside from the fact that Hannah’s dropping the F bomb like confetti on New Years Eve, there’s a slew of adult themes here.
Also, there are no less than four gory, explicit murders in the first three pages of the story including a decapitation. All the more unsettling because thanks to Petraites talent, they are beautifully rendered.
Best / Favorite Moment:
Why: This whole scene wrecked me. The ugly side of dealing with the devastating changes that are simply the occupational hazards of living your life. At the same time, even when strained to near breaking there’s that bond our Queens share. You know they’ll make it even if you have no idea how.
Next Issue: July 31, 2019
*Edit: A previous version of this article mistakenly credited Petraites with colors. My sincere apologies to Marco Lesko who was the colorist and did an excellent job!