Review: ‘Rat Queens’ #5

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With each issue of “Rat Queens” we get closer and closer to the heart of these four raucous chicks, showcasing the brilliance of this series. It doesn’t shove emotions down your throat all at once—it slowly builds up to the moment when you realize you truly care. It’s not just a blood-soaked, drug-hazed, comically-penned fantasy anymore… it’s got real guts.

WRITTEN BY: Kurtis J. Wiebe

ART BY: Roc Upchurch

PUBLISHER: Image Comics

PRICE: $3.50

RELEASE: February 26, 2014

This issue is a roller coaster ride through a series of elements that seamlessly move together. It starts with ferocious violence, setting up a flawless transition into an emotional bit that is pertinent but short—as not to ruin the attitude of the series—going into a light reprieve filled with signature personality and wit, finishing off with a nice dose of intrigue.

Old Lady Bernadette comes back in her own storyline that has you reeling from beginning to end while the Rat Queens continue their face off with the Trolls. During the course of this issue some crucial secrets are borne and a shit-ton of blood is shed, with on of the Queens shedding more than others…

Something that really struck me in this issue are the vast differences in personalities, physical abilities, emotional responses, and societal backgrounds of each Rat Queen. They really stand on their own, completely individualized, yet fit together like a perfect puzzle. And because each one has such a relatable story, there is something for all of us to connect with. This is where the heart seeps into the story. This is how Wiebe teaches us to care.

Slow clap for the cliffhanger ending. Extremely severe cliffhangers like this tend to feel cliché, like a cheap ploy to get us to pick up the next issue. But this one was pulled off so effortlessly. In fact, it’s not just a single cliffhanger but rather a series of cliffhangers, one right after the other, that leads to an ending chock-full of heaping questions. But everyone is in the dark. Not just the readers but the characters as well. This causes the reader to interact with the cliffhanger out of concern, rather than selfish motives. It’s really effective. It lingers with you. And I’ll say it again: It makes you care.

The brute force of Wiebe’s signature wit combined with Upchurch’s flawless art and inexorable paneling make for a quick pace and tremendously entertaining read. Though I’ve never found the fantasy world of dragons, ogres, and wizardry to hold much appeal, the way this comic is presented is universally palatable. I lapped it up and seriously cannot wait to continue my feast.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Bree Ogden