Friday, June 19, 2015

Rat Queens Vol. 2


Hannah has a serious reason for her choice in hairstyle, Violet made a deeply personal statement by shaving her beard, Dee’s past makes a guest appearance (explaining why she always sleeps alone) along with the giant flying squid gods her family worships, and Betty is… Betty is Betty. Last month Volume 2 of Rat Queens shipped collecting issues 6 -10. It took me long enough to get to it, but here we go…

SPOILER ALERT (btw)

Okay, first of all, you got a little more skin in this one. So call me a prude, I don’t think that stuff is completely necessary. Although we are not talking Game of Thrones level gratuity, it caught me off guard opening up to page 1. But I see why this choice was made. Or at least I think I do. The skin in question belongs to Hannah, the resident elven mage. And though the nudity wasn't completely necessary (and it's not full on by the way) this is where we see Hannah exposed and vulnerable (in an emotional way) in front of the man she'll never admit to loving. Well, not for a while anyway. But also her hard exterior is in place to hide... Let's say a physical abnormality. She has horns.


And lets face it, if horns are not the norm in your species, you might feel self conscious about it. Some back story is given with a flashback involving Hannah's mother that hints to another larger story to come involving her father. Or it seems that way anyway. We also see more of Violet's back story and why she shaves her beard and is estranged from her family. In an interesting twist in storytelling, Violet is rebelling from the traditional feminine values of her culture by getting rid of her facial hair. She ran away to escape what felt like being trapped into a mold that would determine the rest of her life.


I don't want to give too much away here because the story is great and speaks to cultural values and norms about beauty and gender norms. Violet's past also hints that she is the one to give this group the name Rat Queens. Dee... So.... Dee has a husband.


Yeah. Kind of explains a little why she is socially awkward at parties where people are pairing off and hooking up. Dee is an interesting character. Despite belief in the giant squid god of her peoples faith, and even seeing them in the sky (which is part of this overall story in vol. 2) she remains an atheist. But as she would explain, that does not mean she has abandoned the traditions she has grown up with. It also does not mean that even thought she also ran away from home, Dee has not broken her vow of marriage and find a new man... Or woman. If you've read this comic you know same sex couples are not a taboo in this world. Neither are mixed race or species couples for that matter. Anyway... Betty the ever loving stoner, thief, smidgen is the only Rat Queen who we have not gotten much of a past for. Although as the series continues to unfold I'm sure we'll get more into what makes Betty Betty.

Yes. Betty is chemically altered at this moment

We also get deeper into Hannah's love interest dude she frequently ravages's story,  Sawyer Silver, and maybe a hint of something traumatic in the past of Dave the Orc. It's Sawyer's past however that leads to their never really any kind of quiet town of Palisade to be attacked by giant inter-dimensional flying squids. Yeah, the ones from Dee's religion.


It's kind of Sawyers fault. But really one of those revenge going WAY too far kind of things. Just like the issues collected in Volume 1, this collection is a fun ride of D&D fantasy mixed with a little modern sensibility and humor. And peeling back the layers and showing us what makes these characters flawed and fractured only makes them more relatable. Side note, yes I could be buying the issues as they come out, but but in me defense I only have so much storage space. Too many comics out there to collect. I look forward to the next volume of this fantastic series. It is a unique fantasy tale that does not take itself too seriously and at the same time  is a story with enough heart to keep you invested in the lives of these imperfect and amazing characters. Rat Queens was created by writer Kurtis J. Weibe and artist Roc Upchurch. Artist Stjepan Šejić has taken over art duties as of issue 9 and things look good.

You can read my review of Vol. 1 HERE

 

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