Rat Queens Special: Neon Static // Review
Rat Queens Special: Neon Static works as a pleasant palate cleanser between story-arcs set in Palisade, proper. This “Elseworlds” tale takes semblances of our heroines and places them in a starkly different setting, while still retaining a number of core traits belonging to the Rat Queens’ characters and world. Set in a cyberpunk futuristic setting, Neon Static plays heavily on technological inversions of standard Rat Queens tropes; if traditional Rat Queens is a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, then Neon Static is its Shadowrun cousin.
Kurtis J. Wiebe presents a simplistic plot with a ‘surprise’ revelation built around a pretty obvious joke, given the subject matter. The plot is not meant to be the appeal of this standalone, however. Instead the allure stems from the issue’s playful, creative worldbuilding, and the abstract departure that is William Kirkby’s artwork. Jagged and angular, Kirkby’s Queens very much do seem to be from a different realm, with serpentine eyes and Ninja Turtle-like features. While grittier and more dystopian, the world is simultaneously more cartoonish and less grounded in reality, allowing the artist room to explore without restriction.
While futuristic cyberpunk iterations of Tinder, Twitter, and Kickstarter are amicably used, it’s the more personal translations that make the issue truly enjoyable. Violet’s aggressively ‘80s action hero five O’clock shadow, in lieu of her beloved beard, is a notable inclusion, as is Dee’s “magical” hacking abilities manifesting on the page in the form of tendrils, reminiscent of original recipe Dee’s mystical connection to the dark tentacled god, N’Rygoth.
For fans of Rat Queens, Neon Static is a welcome reprieve from the drama-filled, plot-heavy character development abundant in recent issues. A lighthearted romp, Neon Static is a fanciful one-off campaign that should give long time fans a memorable adventure.