Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far-Reaching Tentacles of N'Rygoth

Still very, very good--just not as brilliant as the first.  Warning: in this review be both spoilers and strange in-jokes from the works of H.P. Lovecraft.  Feel free to skip around.



The titular tentacles (tee-hee) of N'Rygoth relate to Dee and her status as an ex-cult member.  OR IS SHE???

*dramatic music plays*

Plus, why doesn't she join in with her fellow Rat Queens in bedtime funtime with ... like, everyone in Palisade?  *more dramatic music, then extreme close-up*

Yeppers, Dee's hiding something.  Like maybe that she's married (oops, spoiler) and that she actually hasn't completely renounced her beliefs.  But hey, that's actually a good thing, given that some lunatic  has stolen the ceremonial death mask of the high priest, which can be used to commune with N'Rygoth.  N.B. It's super-helpful if you've read any Lovecraft to really enjoy the jokes in this issue, but it isn't necessary.  That being said, go read The Shadow over Innsmouth and get back to me.

Said power-hungry, revenge-bent mask-stealer, Gerrig, has also released some lurking monsters from their realm (was there non-Euclidean geometry and Cyclopean structures involved at any point???) to destroy Palisade.  Most of the Rat Queens' competition are slaughtered, and Hannah's sometimes-paramour and Captain of the Guard Sawyer gets himself crucified in the buff (warning: some panels NSFW).

In many ways, this story arc doesn't so much move the story forward as flesh it out a bit more.  A handy side-effect of the betentacled beasts in the sky is that they mess with your memory, causing you to relieve past events and lose track of time.  This is a slick way for Wiebe to pop in some backstory for most of the characters.  Violet's was my favorite!

A quick note on the art: I applaud Wiebe for taking decisive action and firing Upchurch after Upchurch was arrested for domestic violence.  Stjepan Sejic's artwork is also very well done, and I thought the transition was nicely managed.  Sejic's style is a bit grittier, but it worked because he really came in during a lot of the battle scenes.

I still love this series to death and will keep reading it, but hopefully in the next volume we get more drinking and more creative Rat Queens cussing.

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