Changing artists on a comic that isn’t part of a large, corporate-owned universe can be the kiss of death for a series. “Rat Queens” #9 has Kurtis J. Wiebe bring new series artist Stjepan Sejic on board, and I know I couldn’t have been the only fan of “Rat Queens” who was a little worried about this sudden change in the creative team. Add in that it’s in the middle of a storyline, in which the fantasy world threatens to come to an end as a creature from an abyssal dimension tries to wipe everything out, and you can see the panic start to set in. As it turns out, Sejic’s arrival is so smooth it makes you wish that every creator change worked out so well.
Sejic’s art is attractive, a slick, elongated look for the series. I love the way he handles some of the little details of the comic, like the stringy look for Violet’s hair or how Hannah’s locks tumble out of her buns and settle around her shoulders. The town of Palisade looks great, too; its buildings come across as painted backgrounds that feel almost like frescos. It’s a neat look, one that reminds me of the look for animated films like “Lilo & Stitch.” He’s also good at creating some aspects of the pages themselves that stand out, like the jagged panel borders for when Hannah is yanked into the dream world, and it feels mystical and crazy.
At the same time, Sejic handles the foreground well too. People getting hauled away with tentacles and purple lightning has never looked quite so eerie, and the Cthulhu-esque monster hovering over the city is incredibly creepy. The characters have expressive faces, and you can see the pain on Hannah’s face when she’s trying to pull herself out of a fantastic imaginary dream world.
Speaking of which, Wiebe’s storyline plugs away quite nicely. He’s doing a good job of keeping the drama up, and I like how he balances the despair of an apocalypse with the upbeat “we can do it” manner of the characters, who are going to do their best to fight the forces of darkness. “Rat Queens” became so popular in no small part because of the fun manner of its characters, and Wiebe reminds us why this group of fantasy warriors – who try to make some money when not boozing it up in the nearby tavern — is so popular.
“Rat Queens” #9 is a strong issue and it lets us know that everything is still on track for this series. It’s a real pleasure to see “Rat Queens” back on stands again, and it’s plugging away with good art and writing. Two thumbs up, and I’m already eagerly awaiting issue #10.