It's been a very long time since we last saw the Rat Queens. There's been a giant void in my manly feminist heart for Hannah, Dee, Violet and Betty. Thankfully, they've returned and are knee deep in a battle of epic proportions.
After the disturbing facts surrounding the untimely departure of co-creator and artist Roc Upchurch came to light, the future of Rat Queens was up in the air. The fledgling series became an instant hit especially with women who saw themselves in these brash, brave, beer-drinking band of ass-kicking maidens. I mean who wouldn't love a woman that can drink and slay an Orc?
Luckily, Image Comics had the good fortune of bringing Stjepan Sejic (Witchblade, Sunstone) on board as the new artist. Admittedly, it did take some getting used to seeing this new version of the Queens as Upchurch's character designs had been ingrained so far after eight issues. Sejic's line work isn't as sharp or as cartoony as Upchurch but instead brings a more naturalistic look that fits this fantasy series just as well. Sejic has seamlessly taken ownership of the art with a style all his own giving the book both a familiar appearance and a renewed vigor in execution.
Kurtis J. Wiebe is still responsible for making the Rat Queens the Rat Queens. And while the tone is a little more serious in issue nine the action is still bloody and swift. The stakes are much higher and circumstances more dire as Sawyer is still in the clutches of Gerrig as he controls hallucination-inducing interdimensional squid creatures that are trying to destroy Palisade. The Queens have to race against time to save Sawyer.
Rat Queens #9 has brought back our favorite band of ballsy maidens with a new look and the same attitude. How they've been missed. It's a new era for the series that continues to excite and thrill without losing a beat and still important as ever to add to your pull list.