Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rat Queens Vol. 1

Not that I mind writers and artists creating great new stories and character, who does? But why did another great series have to come along? My shelf space is at a premium as it is. But in all seriousness, a few weeks ago, I was browsing the new titles in the local library catalog and saw volume one of something called Rat Queens. Looked interesting so I put a copy hold. Now I have another series I want to follow. This is my review of Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery, from Image Comics' Shadowline imprint, collects the first five issues of the series. Writer Kurtis J. Wiebe and artist Roc Upchurch have started something good.

Rat Queens takes place in a fantasy world of magic and magical creatures… who like to party, get drunk, and maybe get a little recreationally (is that a word?) mind expanded between quests. This could easily have been a comic that takes place in a Dungeons & Dragons kind of world. Well, the story does literally take place in a D&D type world. This could have also been another fantasy series about a team of guys tearing things up and it would have been good. But this one is about an all female team. And these women can give and take a beating as well as any man. So lets get some introductions going. This violent band of females is...

Betty - A smidgen (not sure if that is her race or a nickname for her race) who is a skilled fighter and the the of the group.  She also has a thing for candy and shrooms.

Hannah - An elf mage who is sort of the leader and therefore the one most directly responsible for getting her friends into trouble. Fortunately her magic skills help to get them out of said trouble.

Dee - The groups human cleric and healer. She comes from a magical family that worships a blood drinking squid. But Dee is an atheist.

Violet - Warrior, dwarf, probably the best hand to hand fighter in the group, started shaving her beard before it became a thing with dwarven youth.

While there is violence and blood, the series does not sacrifice story. The character development is good. Each of the Rat Queens are fully fleshed out with their own set of personal problems, especially when it comes to family and romance. This is also not something written strictly for the boys.Yes, violence, drinking, and drug humor, but women get into that stuff too. What I mean is that sex appeal doe snot appear to be a factor in attracting an audience. Again, women can get into that too. But lets face it, in comics, showing off some skin and putting characters in sexual situation is mostly a trick to get the male audience interested. And to me, it is lazy storytelling. But they don't need that in this series. The art and writing is solid enough on it's own and is positioned to reach a wider audience.  And just going off of the instances of Rat Queen cosplay I'm seeing online, this series is attracting quite a few people.

Rat Queens is a fantastic, fantasy/action series that delivers some really great original characters. Characters that can hold their own in a fight and a drinking game. Well more likely they could kick most people asses in a fight and a drinking game if they were real. I look forward to the next quest.

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