Today brings the release of Rat Queens #16 from Image Comics, written by Kurtis Wiebe, with art by Tess Fowler. This issue starts a new ARC entitled, "When Beards Collide" which brings the Rat Queens back to Palisade. Upon arrival it's cleared that things have moved along without them, but the chaos effects each one of them differently. The tavern is infested with would be heroes, and something doesn't feel the same.
Kurtis Wiebe shared a preview on Twitter, which motivated me to pick the issue up in the first place.
It's hard, because I really loved Rat Queens when it first came out. I think because of the long hiatus, it fell off of my priority list, and by the time I picked it up again, there was something deflating about it. For this issue, I could really feel the absence of Hannah. It's not that I don't like the other characters, in fact, Betty has always been my favorite. However, Hannah added a balance, something twisted and powerful that the other girls didn't.
The return to Palisade was a bit of a disappointment. I get that perhaps Wiebe was trying to make readers feel the same way the characters did, but it didn't work for me. I won't be too harsh about this, because the issue wasn't bad at all. It's just disappointing to not feel completely gripped by a story that was once so engaging. Hopefully the action will pick up in the next issue, and things will have that old Rat Queens feel to them again. Check out Rat Queens #16 and see for yourself.