‘Rat Queens’ #13: Mage U is Candy-Coated with a Danger-Filled Center

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RatQueens_13-coverRat Queens #13
Written by Kurtis J Wiebe
Art by Tess Fowler
Cover by Stjepan Šejic
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by Ed Brisson
Published by Image Comics

The “Demons” arc, of which this is part three, has been literally and figuratively exploring the demons tormenting the Rat Queens. The literal demons tear at their flesh. The metaphorical demons of the past tear at their minds and hearts. In part three, Hannah and Dee are reunited with loved ones while Violet and Betty’s R&R time lacks relaxation.

At the end of issue #12, the Rat Queens were nearly frozen in the middle of a wizard-induced snow storm, having just escaped a pack of Hell shades. Well, no worries. A deus ex machina in the form of Polle rescued them and brought them the rest of the way to candy-colored Mage University. The issue mostly offers the Queens a reprieve while also giving them new paths to conflict.

I’m amused by the fact that these past two issues have both opened with Violet awakening. In the last one, we got the best drunk ever depicted. With this one, Violet wakes in a hotel, and we are treated to the enjoyment of her discomfort with magic as she opens a magic envelope hanging in front of her: “What’s the worst that could happen?” Demon. With a bunch of eyes and tits. Violet yells in fear and the demon turns out to actually be the disembodied head of Hannah playing a prank and delivering exposition. Could this be a joke foreshadowing the reveal of Hannah’s secret demon biology? If so, this is a big score for Wiebe.

RatQueens13_Gallery

Dee goes straight for the library at Mage U where the answer to the question of how many books they have is: All of them. I’m not sure the series has ever been so erotic as busty Dee wandering awestruck in a library. She asks for the deities section, where very few mages students ever go, gets a warning about the dangerous tomes that lie about, and digs into her research. In a brilliant full page panel spread, tentacles begin to appear behind her. The dramatic irony rises as she naively continues to read. Finally she becomes aware as a shadowed person becomes visible. She punches the person on the shoulder, and the two realize they know each other. It’s her brother, Senoa. The reunion offers one of the best moments of the issue when Dee catches Senoa up to speed with “I’m the high priestess, N’rygoth is real, and I have come to find a way to destroy the god of our people,” followed by a beat then his delayed but apt response: “Drinks?”

Hannah’s storyline also reconnects her with family. She visits immortal Professor Finch, who is about to hightail it out of that realm back to her home when Hannah finds her. Finch informs her of her (step)father’s imprisonment at Mage U, but more importantly, she reunites Hannah with her mother. The moment brings Hannah back full circle and directly calls back to an earlier issue when she flashes back to a memory of being called a Demon Baby by the other kids and then being consoled by Mom.

Finally, Betty explores the marketplace, comes across a tinkerer gnome and can’t resist getting herself a modified sled. Violet sees her heading out on a snowbound adventure with the thing and invites herself along in the interest of having Betty’s back after the assassin’s visit. They hilarious sledding run down the steepest hill directly homages Calvin and Hobbes. What they run into at the bottom of the mountain gives Violet the issue’s punchline: “AND THIS IS WHY WE DON’T GO SLEDDING!”RQ13sledding

9_rating





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