Rat Queens # 10 picks up in the middle of the battle to save Palisade – the town the Queens live in and are mercenaries for – from the Cthulhu-like monsters brought about by Gerrig. All the other mercenary teams of Palisade, though normally competing with each other for jobs, have banded together here to save their town. It is a nice issue for the fans who will enjoy seeing many of their favorites from each mercenary clan – like Braga and Ogre-Dave, for instance – fighting alongside the Queens.
Kurtis J. Wiebe’s script is fantastic. As is always the case with his work, the dialogue is what makes the world come to life. Wiebe has a nice touch with female characters, too; one that’s not always seen in a male writers. In his work we see the women characters as they see themselves.
Wiebe has excellent control of story progression as well. In the heat of the battle he treats us to some back story on Hannah, the leader of the Queens. Normally, Hannah is the hard ass of the team, but in this issue she’s shown to have a more vulnerable side, especially in her relationship with love interest Sawyer. Also involved in these flashbacks is a major reveal about her trademark double bun hairdo that, while interesting, only brings up more questions about her mysterious past. However, rather than being distracting from the battle, Wiebe expertly blends the flashbacks into the current fray by utilizing the mind-bending powers of the Cthulhu creatures, and both plots compliment each other nicely.
Due to some recent and unfortunate circumstances, artist Roc Upchurch was replaced on Rat Queens by Stjepan Sejic. Best known for his work on Death Vigil and Sunstone, Sejic took over the artistic duties with issue #9 yet this story arc began in issue #8. Switching artists on a book can be rough on readers under the best of circumstances, so there was understandably some doubt about the new artist’s dynamic with Wiebe.
There should be no worries on this front. Wiebe’s script is treated reverently in the hands of Sejic – who is a triple threat here, providing both the art and colors as well as the gorgeous cover. Readers are treated to grand, full-page artistic achievements that will have you wanting to cut up your comic books for display. Sejic expertly renders expressions of body and face, and under his experienced hands the glory and gore of battle are brought to life spectacularly. If you’ve been hesitating over the transition of artists, do so no longer. Sejic has easily picked up the baton, smoothly transitioning readers from the old art style to his. If anything, the book’s art has only improved and all evidence only suggests it will continue to do so.
If you’re new to Rat Queens, this issues is not a good jumping on point. However, if you are current with the series, this issue is everything fans have come to love about Rat Queens: beautiful art, ass-kicking heroines and great writing. In the heat of the battle one’s best qualities are often revealed. In this case it’s as true for the characters as it is for the creative team behind them.