There are mysteries abound and the plot thickens as Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch’s “Rat Queens” heads into a new arc and another dire adventure.
One of the things that makes this book sing so beautifully is the chemistry between its four leads, both as Wiebe writes them and as Upchurch draws them. Unfortunately that’s something in short supply in this issue as they’re mostly each off on their own, tending to pieces of the plot that will eventually merge together. A necessary evil perhaps, and certainly not a deal breaker, but it does make this issue less fun (and funny) than others before it.
Dee’s time with her estranged husband rings especially dull as it treads heavily in back story and exposition that eventually ties to the larger events going on with Sawyer and the fate of Palisade. Upchurch does his best to make the talking heads interesting — the pages are still lovely, but it’s just doesn’t feel like the book at its best. Similarly, the Sawyer scenes — stuck with the villain that wants to explain everything, a trope nobody loves — tries to out-dull the Dee scenes. Both these pieces of the story feel less elegant and interesting than what Wiebe’s demonstrated in the past.
Hannah, though off on her own, is always fun to watch since she’s always cussing at someone in an interesting way, and her scene manages to reveal some interesting character development that makes it work better than the others. Unfortunately, Vi and Betty are almost entirely absent except for a hilarious two-page scene early on. The Vi and Betty scene is inspired in every possible way and Wiebe and Upchurch play it perfectly, in both writing and art. The biggest problem is that its excellence just serves as a reminder of how fun and off the wall the book usually is, making this issue suffer even more by comparison.
Lola actually gets a big chunk of page time in this issue, an epic fight that firmly establishes her as an utter badass. It’s an impressively joyous fight scene that deftly works as both great character development and good plot development simultaneously. Upchurch’s execution of this scene is strong overall, kinetic and brutal in the best of ways. However, it could use some clarity as a few of the moves and moments are tough to follow. It’s a shame because overall, it’s very cool. However, a moment that rings a bit false is when Lola discovers a room full of murder victims and is thrown by it. While these are her people (so she’s obviously more connected to them than she is to the people she just destroyed herself), her shock at the carnage rings a bit false given her own equally brutal carnage a few pages prior. The final cliffhanger is decidedly epic and sets up a great battle to come and plenty of opportunities for the ladies to team up to save the day.
Though “Rat Queens” #7 feels like a bit of a misfire compared to some of the humor and heroic greatness the series usually displays, it’s just a small misstep to an otherwise awesome book.