We’re back with yet another thrilling issue of Rat Queens, and the central part of our narrative. This is the “quiet issue” of the Gold, Guts, and Grog story arc: most of what happens is character development. Hannah and Sawyer flirt in jail (why is Hannah in jail? well, if you read the last issue . . .) while Betty tries to make things up with her ex-girlfriend, who Hannah punched in the face. I think Hannah might be less irritable if she took more of Betty’s drugs. This issue’s main event: Betty’s breaking and entering of Gerrig Lake’s office, and an unexpected revelation!
Gerrig Lake, the leader of the town’s Merchant’s Guild, is Up to No Good, and it’s up to the Rat Queens to case his joint. Dee and Betty set up a pretty classic heist caper with Dee distracting Lake with negotiations while Betty does the Sherlock scan on his office. Before Lake can even lay out his prices, however, Betty climbs up on his desk and announces they’re too expensive!
Next is a scene change to Violet, who is getting violent on some dummies when another red-haired dwarf shows up—Barrie Blackforge, her twin brother. Barrie accuses Violet of stealing family property and there is a brief duel. Violet defeats him, shattering his sword and demanding that he leave. We’ll see more plot development regarding the Blackforge family in issue #8, until then we’re left with a mystery: What did Violet steal? Why did Barrie come all this way after her? How do the other Rat Queens fit into all this?
Artistically, this issue of Rat Queens continues with the previous two. The art is Roc Upchurch’s usual scribbly, expressive style. Dialogue is Wiebe’s usual, tight and snarky. It would be interesting to have a fantasy story where the characters are not quite so polished and brilliant with their banter, but for a pure power fantasy like Rat Queens it works well. The Rat Queens continue to to do everything the hard way, and we’re about to find out just how hard it can get in issue #4.
After two action-packed issues it’s good to have some down time and see where the Rat Queens live, emotionally speaking. We’re approaching the climax of the first story arc, so the next issue will be another fast-paced one.