Review by – Bree Ogden
“Rat Queens” is getting gritty as fuck and I love it. The signature blend between Wiebe’s graphic yet cunning dialogue and Upchurch’s curvy, vivacious, detailed, and loveable images will suck you into a world you never thought you could love so damn much. “Rat Queens” is EVERY SINGLE goddamn thing a comic should be. It’s risky, it’s funny as hell, it’s heartwarming—when it needs to be, which isn’t often, so don’t worry—it’s entertaining, empowering, focused, and distinguished. But perhaps the most impressive aspect of “Rat Queens” is that it’s becoming increasingly terrifying at a slow, natural pace that doesn’t slam your face into a wall of horror, but rather puts you in some hot water and slowly turns up the heat until you realize you’re boiling and there is nothing you can do about it.
ART BY: Roc Upchurch
PUBLISHER: Image Comics / Shadowline Comics
RELEASE: May 7, 2014
We last saw our girls throwing a party filled with sex, drugs, and booze—working off the tension of almost losing Violet. But something was amiss at the party, something wasn’t right in Dee’s world. And it’s issue six that explores this concern as well as the ramifications of their debauched night. But hardly… and I’ll explain why…
This issue does not belong to The Queens. It belongs to Sawyer. This issue is a deadly love letter to Sawyer’s past. A past he’s clearly not proud of, and a past that (shit!) might make us a bit wary of him. Sawyer’s gotten himself into some deep shit and some deep shit has gotten into him. I’ll just leave it at this: if you know me at all, you know how much I love a good Kraken tentacle. After this, I am straight terrified of them, son.
Wiebe knows how to unfold a mystery as if he is opening a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift with his mother shouting in the background, “Don’t rip the paper! I want to keep it for next year!” We are given bits and pieces of what we know will be Pixies-sized GIGANTIC story lines, but it’s not frustrating. It’s encouraging. It makes you want to go back and reread, and reread, and reread until you have memorized every line, every snarky remark, every curvy thigh and upturned nose. Because you know that’s the only thing you can do until the next month when you get your next fix. And that’s how an Eisner Award nominated comic is done, folks.
I would never use this term if I didn’t absolutely mean every word of it with the sincerity of one thousand suns, but there’s this Selma Diamond quote from Night Court in which she says, “I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.” The only thing I might add to that is that I gasped in horror twice. Twice. GASPED. There is a scene that will haunt your dreams for weeks. Because Upchurch knows how to draw the hell out of a horror panel.
There is so much love in this issue and there is so much hate. (And a lot of Gary bashing. Poor Gary.) More than any issue, #6 truly shows us that the girls are a family. You know that shit saying, “blood is thicker than water”? Well, “Rat Queens” shows us that water is thicker than steel alloy, and these girls are bound by it. They would cease to exist without even just one of them, which means the stakes are high and Wiebe knows it.