Writer: Kurtis J Wiebe
Artist: Tess Fowler
The first two arcs of Rat Queens were almost polar opposites. While both stories featured the series’ trademark sense of humor, the second arc was significantly darker than the first. Of course, the change in tone didn’t negatively impact the quality of the series, but it was a jarring departure from what the fans were used to. Rat Queens #12 is the second issue of the current arc, and is a good blend of the first two arcs. While the series is still dealing with some of the dark themes present in the N’rygoth arc, Tess Fowler’s art, as well as the Queen’s friendship help to prevent the title from remaining gloomy.
Kurtis J. Wiebe’s writing throughout the issue is stellar as always. It’s been a treat to see the four protagonists all getting a pretty good chunk of the spotlight. While this arc seems to have placed an emphasis on Hannah, the most interesting characters in this issue are Betty and Violet, who bond over an assassination attempt. This issue’s dialogue is much stronger than #11’s, with jokes that land much more often than before.
While there has been a great deal of flashbacks on Hannah, it would have been nice to see more development of the character. We are learning a great deal of how fun her college life was, but not much more than that. A dark part of her past comes up towards the end of the issue, but that is suddenly interrupted by a battle that runs to the end of the issue (Which ends suddenly).
Tess Fowler has really found her stride in this issue, with all of the characters looking much more consistent all the way through. The Rat Queens themselves are as expressive as they were when Upchurch was drawing them, and the various environments throughout the issue (Especially the Dank Cave) have plenty of detail for readers to gawk and laugh at. The battles are well drawn, and the panels are laid in a way where every encounter and joke between the strikes land as they should.