Rat Queens #23 is published by Image Comics under their Shadowline imprint. It comes from the creative team of writer/letterer Ryan Ferrier, artist Moritat, and colorist Casey Silver. The Rat Queens are sick. Well, all of them except for Dee who seems to be shielded by her divine powers. While, at first, they are all content to believe that it’s just a little something going around, Dee is unconvinced. So the group heads into Palisade only to find that all of the denizens of the city seem to be suffering from similar symptoms.
The Queens leap into action, finding a series of strange vines that appear to be releasing an allergen into the air. Following the vines to an overgrown well, the group descends and finds themselves in a free fall. When they arrive at the bottom, they discover an impossibly large cavern full of foliage and plant life. A strange half-bird/half-worm creature greets them and is lovingly named Bwird by the group. As Bwird leads them deeper into the land of Organia, they soon learn that there is more to this verdant land than meets the eye.
With Rat Queens #23, I find myself at a difficult crossroads. I love this series and have felt this way for years now. But this issue was the second in a row that fell almost completely flat for me. Ferrier’s script has some bright spots for sure. The humor is on point and a lot of one-liners got me to laugh out loud, particularly the bit about “man colds” and how melodramatic men are when they get sick. But even good comedy can’t save an issue that feels like little more than filler.
The events of this story, much like with issue 22, don’t seem to move the overarching plot forward much if at all. A large part of that issue seems to come from the fact that there isn’t really an overarching plot. Yes, there is evil Hannah and the void that Dee opened up with her powers. But those are plot hooks and don’t have anything tangible behind them. As a result, the end of the issue just kind of rolls along and, while things have changed, it doesn’t feel particularly meaningful.
The art from Moritat has grown on me a little but still feels like a misfit. The characters have taken on completely new characteristics under this artist, particularly Betty whose face seems completely different from past portrayals. That isn’t to say that the art looks bad. In fact, this issue’s visuals are excellent. The underground plant kingdom of Organia is portrayed beautifully. The plant life looks familiar and also completely alien which fits well with the plot. The residents of Organia are also a fun touch with the majority of them being blends of animals, like a half-rabbit/half-spider named Rancho. This is compounded with the brilliant colors by Silver, particularly the psychedelic colors used in the part where the group is drugged. I also love how well Bwird contrasts against the rest of the background. Ferrier’s letter work remains clean, easy to follow, and complements the artwork.
I found Rat Queens #23 pretty disappointing. The story continues to feel aimless. The art looks very nice, although I still don’t think it’s a great fit compared to previous artists. I wanted to give this series another shot after last month’s issue felt off, but now I’m worried that it is becoming a trend. I’ve been a fan for long enough that I’m planning on sticking with it. But my concern for this series is really starting to grow.
Rat Queens #23 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Rat Queens #23
I found Rat Queens #23 pretty disappointing. The story continues to feel aimless. The art looks very nice, although I still don’t think it’s a great fit compared to previous artists… my concern for this series is really starting to grow.