Rat Queens comes back from hiatus with issue 11 where, in the aftermath of the defense of Palisades from the agents of N’RYGOTH, the girls go on a road trip to help Hannah deal with remnants from her past.
Issue 11 takes a departure from the usual structured pacing of Rat Queens as the girls are already in the midst of a quest when we begin. Having been captured by a bunch of goblins, the first thing that comes to mind is how did the queens get captured by lowly goblins? As Violet points out “I’m still trying to figure out how we ended up here. Trolls, Orc Armies, World Ending Sky Demons, no problem. Goblin Foodies? Fold like a Gary.”
Eventually, using a combination of Betty’s candy expertise and a common jail trope of leaving keys near the jail cell, the queens are able to escape in the issue’s lone fight scene (not including the cold open involving Hannah’s father).
Once on the road, Hannah finally opens up and tells the rest of the girls that they are on the way to Mage University to help her father, who’s been implicated in a coup against the Council of Nine – also Hannah’s worried that her mother is not answering any of her channels. I like how Kurtis J. Wiebe depicts Hannah’s struggles to open up to her friends. Hannah’s been closed off for so long, using it as an armor against the world, but she realizes these are truly her friends and they will always have her back – as is demonstrated by them loyally following her without knowing or caring where they were going.
When they make it to the town surrounding the University they find it practically deserted and devoid of any students. Hannah meets up with an old friend, Poole, who tells her the students have been banned from her favorite hangout bar due to the coup. Poole warns that the University is not the place for Hannah due to her past there, but as we know that’s not going to stop her. We finally end with Betty being awaken and captured by another smidgen, who claims to have finally completed her collection.
- Overall a good issue, if somewhat slow as it serves to set up the conflict at the University as well as Betty’s capture.
- Speaking of which, looks like we’re finally getting some much needed backstory on Betty, who has been the only one of the group we haven’t gotten any history on.
- We have a new artist, Tess Fowler, who drew the Bragga one issue special. I like her style with my only complaint being that she kinda “barbie-ized” the Queens’ faces. One of the charms to Roc Upchurch’s version of the Queens was that, unlike most comic heroines, the Queens looked like normal girls with normal figures. Again, I’m not saying Fowler’s art is bad, it’s not, just different.
- We get the debut of Violet with her beard in present time. Gotta admit: Although it adds to her character, because she really doesn’t look like a dwarf, I like her without the beard better.
- I love how Wiebe incorporates and pokes fun at common tropes like always having a jailer with the keys hang out 2 feet from a jail cell or have the keys within reaching distance of the jail cell.
- Apparently, Hannah caused some destruction at the University that caused not only the Council of Nine to bring it up (and for which her dad took responsibility), but also her friend brought it up as a reason for her not to be there. Interesting to see what she did as it probably has to do with what caused her friendship with Tizzie to end.
- Finally since the girls are on a road trip we miss the other denizens of Palisades. I know the comic will always center around the Queens, but I miss their interactions with Sawyer, Bragga, Tizzie, and even Gary (Although, as Violet so eloquently describes, Gary is now part of Rat Queens vernacular as his name is now synonymous with failure. “We folded like a Gary.”)