Rat Queens #5 Review

Posted August 17, 2017 by Chad Waller in Comic Books

Written by: Kurtis J. Wiebe

Art by: Owen Gieni

Publisher: Image Comics

It’s hard not to compare Rat Queens with I Hate Fairyland because the two have such a similar sense of humor. They’re wild, fantastical, and absurd as hell. They’re the kind of books where a well-placed curse word or insult can be the punchline to a joke, and that’s not just okay but hilarious. They live and die on their writing.

However, now that I’ve gotten to spend more time with Rat Queens, I’m seeing some big differences that set it apart–to its benefit.

Rat Queens, for all its DnD silly, is actually quite grounded in its own world and mythology. The world feels real despite being absurd, and the towns, caves, temples, and secret ruins feel like they could exist in this world. There’s even a strange logic to the magic system if you squint a bit. IHF, meanwhile, is a series of non sequitor “fairyish” areas stitched together based on plot. I do love it, but it’s nice to have this style of humor intermixed with rules.

It makes for higher stakes and better character moments.

Rat Queens #5 opens where the last issue left off, with the Queens teleported to moments of their past via a regret mirror. Jokes abound as they each spend a few pages navigating their biggest regrets, but the character work done underneath the jokes is what’s really impressive. Violet’s is straight-man and touching, the Orc lady’s packs a very interesting twist that’s also quite touching, the thief’s is … okay, hers is a big joke. It’s a really, really good joke though! Hannah’s is by far the most interesting as the situation doesn’t come off as a regret at all. It brings up some very serious questions about a very nonserious character.

There’s a secret amount of depth to all of these characters hiding underneath their cursing, killing, and adventuring that’s really very nice. Kurtis handles it all with just the right touch, keeping it to the sidelines but never off the page.

Now, the latter half of the book is pretty standard Rat Queens adventuring, but that’s why we’re here. A few of the jokes garnered heavy belly laughs out of me, making this one a winner in my book. Damn is this comic funny.

On the art front, it’s just as pretty as ever. The regret sequences all look fantastic, especially considering the amount of emotions the comic jumps through. Sorrow on one page turns to a big cosmic scene on another turns to two stoners eating food. It’s great stuff from beginning to end.

I started this review comparing Rat Queens to I Hate Fairyland, but won’t end by picking sides because we live in a world where both exists. That’s pretty rad, right? Two awesome, hilarious fantasy books ripe for the reading!

About the Author

Chad Waller

Chad Waller is the cofounder of Dual Wield Software, a two-man video game company that just published The Land of Glass on Steam. You should check it out! You can follow him on Twitter @DualWieldSoft and find his company page on Facebook with a quick search.