The Rat Queens have been through a lot of ups and downs, mainly downs, but they always manage to come through it all together. But now they have to deal with the Sky Watch Cult and a malevolent force is taking them out of existence one by one. What to do? Pour a drink and let’s check out Rat Queens #10 from Image Comics to find out.
Rat Queens #10
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe & Owen Gieni
Illustrator: Owen Gieni
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier
Editor: Laura Tavishati
Cover Art: Owen Gieni
Cover B Art: Joseph Michael Linsner
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Rat Queens: The Sky Watch Cult has been gaining strength in the city of Palisade, and even people from the Rat Queens’ past have taken notice and come to the city to investigate. But it seems that a malevolent? The entity has been confronting people with regrets or sadness and offering them their current lives of oblivion. Now, even members of the Rat Queens have been affected, disappearing from existence, with only Betsy remembering them.
NO ONE IS TRULY GONE…
After being confronted by Mezekiah as being the reason the Sky Watch Cult exists, Dee is more confused than she thought possible after his companions assure him she is not the reason. They leave to continue their investigation, leaving Dee to ponder what exactly is going on. But the Reality Wizard is waiting, and explains how her previous actions caused a split in reality, the original and a new one, and her god N’Rygoth continued to searching for her. Her actions to save her friend Hannah caused this and she now she has doubts it was worth it.
Betsy arrives just in time to witness Dee fade from existence and confronts the Reality Wizard. But the carefree little smidgen has regrets and doubts of her own, as we learn when we get the story of how she came to be. It involves betrayals exile, and is not what you expect from the carefree smidge. By the end of the issue, the true villain is revealed and we have a new status for the Rat Queens, and a dark, most dangerous enemy lurking in the shadows.
… AS LONG AS ONE PERSON REMEMBERS
I came upon Rat Queens quite by accident after the creative team had changed, and eagerly hunted down all the issues I could find. Besides the fantasy element, the world that has been formed with the Rat Queens is completely unique. Old troupes are turned on their heads, and new ideas are pushed to the forefront. The issue is co-plotted between writer Kurtis J. Wiebe (Peter Panzerfaust, Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM) and illustrator Owen Gieni (Avengelyne, Sore Thumbs), and it is a wonderful collaboration. The last several issues have been quite a read as the story jumps from the past to the present to the future and between several possible timelines Here we see the creators were playing the long game, and it pays off. To see these women, who we have grown to know as strong and loyal and irreverent, be torn down in the way they have is heart wrenching. Yes, we get lots of information on their backstories. Many, if not all, dangling plot lines, some you never realized were dangling, are tied together. The ending, while sad and satisfactory, opens up a path to even more adventures. When you want a fantasy story with modern day ideas and situations, Rat Queens is the best example of it. I’m so glad Wiebe is willing to share them with us.
Owen Gieni is a wonder as well. As co-plotter, he seems to have an eye for the motion of this book better than an artist left out of the process would have. His art, already detailed and gritty, really is wonderful with this issue. The visual appearance of the antagonist is great, although I did get the visual of an adult Orko gone mad (wonder who will get that?) it works, as shows how the visual was changed for each Rat Queen. The fact that he keeps up such a high quality of art is one thing, but to then do a total of three different styles is really awesome. The facial expressions convey the emotions of the characters, from Dee’s sadness, to Betsy’s heartbreak, you really feel it. Additionally, I am absolutely in love with the cover, subtle yet striking.
BOTTOM LINE: GREAT ISSUE THAT PULLS THE HEARTSTRINGS
Rat Queens has a history of dealing with strong women who aren’t afraid of being themselves. It touches on family relationships, romances, lifestyle choices, rebellion, debauchery… a whole range of subjects and this issue is no different. Self-doubt and abandonment issues are in the forefront here, as they have been to one degree or another for the whole series. As the issue closes, we get the past being buried and the possibility of a new future. I for one cannot wait to see what happens next.
Rat Queens #10 continues to be the book to read for fun and action, as well as the emotional gut punch.