Rat Queens #22 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. Following closely after the events of the 21st issue, we begin with the titular Queens enjoying a game of dice. After losing a round, Betty decides to go in search of the missing Hannah. Soon enough she stumbles on Hannah naked and drenched in blood on the top of Castawyr.
Before Hannah can explain what is going on, the two find themselves surrounded by menacing creatures. The beasts reveal themselves to be Moonhounds, hard-drinking, foul-mouthed lycanthropes. Recognizing the danger the two face, Betty flees immediately leaving Hannah alone to face them herself. But with the Moonhounds closing in, it seems like there may finally be a threat too great for the Rat Queens.
After championing the new creative team for this series, I was disappointed to find that Rat Queens #22 didn’t click for me. Ferrier’s script felt a little too much; like the tires were spinning without actually going anywhere. The events of the issue seem relatively superfluous. Furthermore, some of the actions of the Queens feel pretty out of character, particularly Betty abandoning Hannah to the mercy of the Moonhounds. After the events of the previous arc, Betty doing something so selfish and thoughtless seems very bizarre.
Speaking of the Moonhounds, I’ll have to be frank. They’re lousy villains. A bunch of hard-partying, raucous werewolves who behave like fratboys on a bender seem like a perfect fit for this fantasy world. But the way they are presented is purely obnoxious. It feels like a joke that could have been funny for a couple of pages, but got stretched to a full issue. There’s only so many times that a villain can make the same pun and exclaim how much they enjoy drinking and partying before it just gets stale. If the intent was to make them feel annoying, then Ferrier succeeded. But it’s equally important to make annoying characters fun, much like how Gary was in the previous arc.
As for the art, the work from Moritat looks nice, but it’s a poor fit for the series. Up to this point the various artists had lent a somewhat realistic but mystical appearance to the art. Moritat’s art feels more cartoonish. Characters’ features are exaggerated in some panels and oversimplified in others. While it never looks bad, it just doesn’t fit well with the characters and places I’m accustomed to. As a result, everything feels a little off.
Meanwhile, the colors from Silver are well done. Particularly the bright purples of magic and its effects. When Hannah gets to show off her powers Silver’s colors bring a lot of extra flavor to the panels. The letters from Ferrier continue to be great. His stint as a writer/letterer has made for clean, legible, and interesting letters since he took over as writer.
Overall, Rat Queens #22 just felt off. The humor never quite landed for me, outside of a sequence towards the middle of the book. The art seems like a bad fit for the series, but I’m hoping that I will warm up to it eventually. Despite all of this, I’m still hopeful about the future of the series. Ferrier hasn’t had any missteps before so I’m willing to chalk this one up to needing a filler story to get pieces in place.
Rat Queens #22 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Rat Queens #22
Overall, Rat Queens #22 just felt off. The humor never quite landed for me, outside of a sequence towards the middle of the book. The art seems like a bad fit for the series, but I’m hoping that I will warm up to it eventually. Despite all of this, I’m still hopeful about the future of the series.