Rat Queens #19 is published by Image Comics under their Shadowline imprint. It comes from the creative team of writer and letterer Ryan Ferrier, with artist Priscilla Petraites, and colorist Marco Lesko.
After the triumphant finale of issue #18, the Rat Queens have arrived in Palisade. Rat Queens #19 opens with Hannah issuing a challenge to King Gary. But when he rejects that challenge it turns into an all-out brawl. The Rat Queens take the fight to Gary’s forces. While the fight goes on, the newly sober Betty cowers, fearful for her life. But when it comes time for Maddy to step up and kill Gary’s giant dog, which is also his noble steed, she freezes. In this moment of weakness, Betty is taken hostage and the Rat Queens are captured.
Post-capture, the Rat Queens are placed on trial. Specifically, they are held in chains over a huge vat of acid. Gary, as the judge, calls on them to speak their peace and defend their actions. When Hannah unleashes a second verbal barrage at him he is unmoved. With the Queens in a tricky situation and no help on the horizon, it seems all could be lost for the precocious group.
With Rat Queens #19 Ferrier once again has crafted a compelling and uproarious entry to this series. The disfunction that the Queens had been facing has passed, and Ferrier shows us as much in spectacular fashion. Hannah is as acid-tongued as ever, Maddie is confident, and everyone is clicking. But his understanding of these characters and their flaws and strengths shines through to Betty as well. While everyone else was arguing, Betty was struggling with her sobriety. Though Betty had Terwilliger, the sobriety fairy created by Hannah, she never really had support from the group. This was used as a brilliant means of showing how the Queens are only ever as strong as their weakest link. Additionally, his letters are clean, well implemented, and help keep his writing easy to follow.
The art from Petraites dazzles once again. Every panel is excellent, whether it features a gigantic slobbering dog or the greasy smile of King Gary. Petraites’ art is the perfect compliment to Ferrier’s story. The colors from Lesko are similarly excellent. While every page and panel display this, one particular point really nails home the detail of his work. During the trial, because of a vat of acid the palette changes. When the action had been outdoors the colors were brighter and cleaner. But here in the courtroom, the acid casts a sickly green tint over everything. It’s a clear sign of talent and really enhances the artwork.
I’ve been loving every issue of this new creative team’s work and Rat Queens #19 is no different. The action is great, the humor is crass and wonderful, and everyone is killing it. Every time I think I have a grasp on the story it takes a new shift to make things interesting again. Rat Queens is here to stay and I cannot wait to read the next issue.
Rat Queens #19 is available now in comic stores everywhere.
Rating: 5/5 Nice things I couldn’t find to say about Gary