Rat Queens #17 is published by Image Comics, as a part of the Shadowline imprint from the creative team of writer/letterer Ryan Ferrier, artist Priscilla Petraites, and colorist Marco Lesko. The issue opens shortly after the end of the previous one. The Rat Queens have been captured by the mysterious and hostile king who attacked Palisade. However, in a twist, it was revealed that the king is the long-time punching bag of the group Gary.
As the Queens are tied up Gary begins his villain speech. He explains how successful and cool he is now that he’s king, and how he plans to kill the Queens. Once he’s finished, the girls are taken to cells and locked up.
Once imprisoned, the Rat Queens begin looking for a way to deal with their current situation. As Betty is suffering through her recent decision to go sober, Hannah uses magic to conjure assistance. Thanks to some quick work from Maddie, the gang is eventually freed and they set out to find help. The journey for help brings in a few familiar faces, as well as setting the stage for more. By the end of the issue, the Rat Queens’ mission is clear, whether they like it or not.
The script from Ferrier is everything you could ask for in an issue of Rat Queens. The humor is laugh-out-loud funny, sardonic, and biting. The pacing is excellent, allowing the reader to enjoy the action without ever getting bogged down or feeling rushed. Additionally, the moments of heart and emotion are clear and well presented. If anyone still had reservations about Ferrier taking over the series, this issue should alleviate them. Furthermore, his lettering remains solid. Dialogue is clear and easy to follow, and the effects are perfectly evocative.
The artwork from Priscilla Petraites remains a high point. Though this series has had many artists of varying styles, something about Petraites’ work stands out. There is a particular juxtaposition of beauty and crassness/violence that she brilliantly executes. The way her art compliments the humor of the script is excellent. Thanks to her, Gary’s face has never looked so punchable. The colors from Marco Lesko enhance the beautiful art on every page.
As I’ve stated before, it is abundantly clear that the relaunched Rat Queens is in great hands. Ferrier understands this world and its characters as well as anyone could hope. Well enough that he knew to make the main villain a reference to the series’ beginning.
The script is funny, heartfelt, and manages to regularly surprise with its twists. The art is gorgeous, and the colors only serve to improve that. Overall this is a damn good creative team working wonders on a great series. If you like high fantasy and aren’t afraid of it being pretty raunchy, then you need to be reading this. And if you’re a lapsed fan, it’s a great time to get back into the series as well.
Rat Queens #17 will be available in comic stores everywhere on July 31st, 2019
4.5/5 times that Gary was the worst.