For my birthday one of my friends bought me the third instalment of this great series by Image – Rat Queens. You’ve already heard me talk about the series and its characters before, https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/theratqueens/ so today I am just going to go over some of the features that have caught my attention. Must warn you though: This May Contain Spoilers!
I think story wise, this is probably the best volume out of the three Rat Queens. Whilst volume one was great at creating the setting, and explaining everyone’s background, the story did not have the grit we are presented here. The second volume, probably the funniest, had some significant character developments and some absolutely to die for art work, a great deal of the story focused on the action, which was essential for the developments of vol. 3. Therefore, we have reached the peak of all the intrigues. We have also get to know each character in full. Betty is still my favourite. Her loving, kindred spirit is just overwhelming. And we see here, more than ever how she is the sensitivity of the Queens. Dee has gone miles ahead, she is a complete different person. She has a fully grown back bone fuelled by her intellect and high understanding of how the universe works. We have also got to learn more about her family thanks to the appearance of her brother Senoa. Violet has shown us her caring and selfless side. And to the surprise of many, she is rocking a pretty beautiful beard! What happened with screw tradition?! I guess everyone grows up. And then Hannah…although it was hinted I did not expect the progression to be so bold. Her look change really caught me by surprise – in general the last 10 pages really got me like this 😱😱😱😱 I followed the demonic agreement, and accepted the evil deeds at the Mage uni. But brushing off the Queens and going full on solo was hard to digest.
But I get it. I understand that the outcasts go through change. I understand that trust and friendship is always tested, sometimes in pretty brutal ways. And Rat Queens has always been excellent at pushing the boundaries, and testing the integrity of its characters. “Sometimes love isn’t good enough” says Betty. There is great opposition between nature and nurture in the four characters – probably less visible to this stage in our loving smidgen. And I think the plot is moving to explore deeper concepts already outlined in these first 3 volumes: belonging, family v friends, believes v principles, what is good and what is bad, and who is, and who can judge. Support – how much can you rely in those around you and how much must you only depend on your own self. Flexibility and tolerance, respect.
It hurt me that Dee openly challenged Hannah’s intention of rescuing her father even though Hannah had a point and it was her duty. Or how Violet was not up to the task of assuming the so contested leadership of the group when her sense of honour and deep mindedness was most needed. It demonstrated that now that she found comfort in her relationship with Dave the orc, perhaps she didn’t feel she needed that recognition and that made her more detached. If she would have been more on the ball, things may have been different….And what is it with that sword she got from Daniel the Dragon? Perhaps that is responsible for her behaviour? Too early to tell.
I think Hannah only had one way out. In her eyes her sisters walked away from her: Dee did so very vocally (perhaps without meaning to), Violet was clumsy and did not live up to standards. Betty tried, Betty understood, but Hannah clearly dismissed this as naivety rather than honest concern and respect.
I am certainly interested to know what we got coming in volume 4. Now, I know there has been a lot of controversy with the announcement that Fowler will not be continuing the artwork in the fourth arch and that she will be substituted by Roc Upchurch (first artist of the series who has dismissed following his arrest for domestic violence). I personally don’t think one half does the other. You could tell through this volume that although Fowler’s artwork is great, there was a dissociation between the art and the plot. While it worked brilliantly for volume two – spectacularly well I’d say – the darker development of the story requires a more moody type of drawing. The tone needs to be in accordance. So, personally I don’t have a problem with this decision – politics aside.
And I think that is all I can say without repeating myself too much – and I don’t like repeating myself, so it is probably wise to call it a day. Not before though, before I encourage you to read the entire collection and get some Rat Queens attitude in you. After all this is a comic by geeks for geeks – embracing and loving those outside of the norm, and bringing them home, wherever home is…although not with a rocky, muddy climb. That’s how epic is forged