By Kurtis J. Wiebe and Stjepan Sejic
The Rat Queens are back! There has been a bit of a delay between issues since co-creator Roc Upchurch was removed from Rat Queens, but issue #9 is a good start for new artist Stjepan Sejic. Although the plot was a little disjointed in this issue, it does show signs of being the same comic that was so popular through its first eight issues.
This issue picks up with the Cthulu-esque creatures running rampant through Palisade. The creatures themselves “feed on the energy of displaced reality,” which is a difficult power to work around in telling a linear story. We are also reintroduced to many of the characters in the past Rat Queens issues, as they ended up being separated when the attack started. The result is a series of flashbacks for multiple characters out of chronological order. The content is fun, but it is not easy to make sense of the purpose behind all of the scenes in this issue. We do however wrap up this issue with all of the Rat Queens and other fan favorites banding together to kick ass. That is when Rat Queens is at its best so hopefully that is what we see more of heading forward. Wiebe’s dialogue continues to shine as well which really makes this issue a good read. It’s not often that someone is described as being “balls deep in a book” but crass one-liners like that are perfect for the Rat Queens!
Stjepan Sejic’s style does differ substantially from that of Roc Upchurch. Sejic’s art has a more realistic, serious feel to it, and seems to convey a bit more emotion. That’s not always the best thing for a comic that had seemed almost like a Saturday morning cartoon gone wrong. The cartoony feel of Rat Queens made the jokes play bigger and the violence and sexuality seem less serious. This issue has a much darker feel to it than previous issues, especially in the fight sequences. The coloring felt very familiar which was nice. The characters obviously had a slightly different look with a new artist but the colors really felt unifying between the two styles.
This issue seemed like it was used as an opportunity to get readers back into the Rat Queens world and show us that Sejic could draw all of our favorite characters. It is great to see Rat Queens back regardless. We will see if Wiebe and Sejic can capture some of the same magic going forward that made Rat Queens one of the most fun comics in Image’s lineup.