After the increased momentum from the last issue, it feels like Rat Queens is once again in full swing. People might not expect the fourth issue in the second volume to be a good starting place, but this has all of the things that people love about this series and it doesn’t really require any background information to enjoy a storyline where a bunch of adventurers make their way into a mysterious and forgotten temple. Indeed, the way that the series joyfully plays on recognizable classic fantasy stereotypes and tropes is one of the best things about it and this issue exemplifies this motif well.
The way that the recognizable is played upon is particularly clear in when the trope comes across what appears to be a simple chest monster, which is featured on some covers. Breaking our conceptions of what a so-called “nightmare chest” might contain, the group learns fast that she is actually a sentient being named Marcy, who quickly calls them out for not asking for consent before prying her open. Furthering the gag, Marcy even gives us some information about the job listing that put her there and how misleading it was. Moments like this really showcase how amazing Kurtis J. Wiebe’s writing is. Additionally, his ear for dialogue is spot on as it maintains a sense of modernity while never feeling out-of-place in a fantasy setting. It is also consistently smart, funny, and positive because the highly developed characters really do care about each other. More than anything, his love of the genre is clear.
Not to be completely out shined, the art is quite nice. Owen Gieni’s scaling and angling makes the temple feel particularly grand. The temple’s Lovecraftian and video game aesthetics are a nice touch as well. Really though, it’s the coloring that makes the art stand out. For example, the decrepit green shading overlaying the temple entrance contrasts quite effectively against the sky blue tinge of the outside. The lettering is also great with Ryan Ferrier pulling out all sorts of fun sounds effects that add to the never too serious atmosphere of the series.
As a bonus, there is a small back up comic included in the issue titled Rat Queens Inc. This was previously released as Rat Queens Wednesday Webcomic #7. It is a cute little funny story that is a nice way to end the book.
If there were any doubts about the second volume, this issue assuages them. It has everything that makes this series notable. And again, if you haven’t taken a chance on it yet, this is a very good place to try it out. Son of a kitten it’s a good issue! Five Stars!
(W) Kurtis J. Wiebe (A/CA) Owen Gieni