Guys, guys, Rat Queens volume 2 is coming out! In just a couple of weeks! AND I GOT AN ADVANCE COPY TO READ AND I'M SO EXCITED AAAAAUUUUUUGHHHH!
(If I was a blogger who did gifs, there would be a gif here. Picture it.)
The book begins the morning after the debauchery that ended the first volume, with a lovely post-house party scene that involves hangovers, breakfast, and random bedmates wandering through the living room. There's no shame--everyone says a cheerful hello (and a few raunchy comments are made), but someone shows up from city hall and we're off on a new adventure.
Over the course of this volume, we get some great character development on most of the Queens--snippets from Violet's life as a dwarf, where she gets the "just a girl" treatment and works for the family business as a model, and bits of Hannah's past, including the reason why she and Sawyer are on-again-off-again despite their clear chemistry and affection. And these are the minor bits--most of the past in this story belongs to Dee.
It turns out Dee has left a lot behind, and that someone has stolen an important relic from her people that could put the world in danger. Also, Sawyer's in trouble, and, of course, the rest of Palisade is, as always, in danger (in addition to the world-danger).
So all this is going on, and in the meantime, we're getting the bits that really make this series sing--the broad, interwoven cast of characters, many of whom have twining history (Hannah's nemesis used to be a college friend; Sawyer's second in command is another AMAZING woman; Orc Dave gets some nice moments, both with Violet and without). Betty gets a little bit of the short shrift here, but she still has some nice moments--funny ones, of course, because she's the stoner and that's her role, but another great moment when she realizes someone she cares about is in trouble and goes berserker.
This is everything that I loved about the first one--the sass, the affection, the heroism, the human drama, the horrifying monsters.
There was a change in artist last year, after the original artist and co-creator, Roc Upchurch, was arrested for domestic violence. He was replaced as the artist for the series, which means that the last two issues in this volume had a new artist, Stjepan Sejic [sic]. I was worried about this, because I did love Upchurch's art. But I'm really happy with Sejic's art--it's different, but it's clear and easy to follow (I'm pretty easily confused by muddy visuals), the characters all seem very much themselves, both recognizably and intuitively. It feels nearly seamless, and I'm left happy--happy with the whole series and wiggling with delighted anticipation for the next one!