Wednesday, August 17, 2016

RAT QUEENS: SASS & SORCERY - A REVIEW

Rat Queens Vol.1: Sass and Sorcery
Written by: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Illustrated by: Roc Upchurch
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Image
Language: English
April 2014
Genre: Fantasy/Action-Adv/Comic Book/ Series

Who are the Rat Queens?

A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they're in the business of killing all god's creatures for profit.

It's also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

Collecting Rat Queens #1-5!


+++++++++++++

‘Did you seriously pack candy and drugs for dinner?’

I have been playing tabletop games for a while. My favorite memories are of my friends Daen, Nicole, Sierra, and I playing D&D with Daen’s future husband, Jeremy, in college. We weren’t the Rat Queens, but I think we wanted to be. Flash forward 15 years later and I started hearing about the Rat Queens and how awesome the comics were. I picked up the first two trades right before ECCC this year. I was smitten. I had some serious cosplay goals…still do. And I kind of wanted to hang out with them. I also think our Shadowrun group should become a Dungeon Crawl group. Maybe Pathfinder would be a nice change of pace.

Meet Betty. ‘Tequila, vodka, and two magic mushrooms. They call it the Betty.’ She is the adorable, rogue thief Smidgen. She is also slightly addicted to candy and drugs.

Hannah rocks the pinup vibe and is the elven mage who doesn’t give a frak. She’s a bit of a hot head and can tap into some pretty wicked dark magic.

Dee is the divine healing cleric who doesn’t really believe in a higher power and comes from a family of cultists who worship a giant flying squid.

Finally, you have Violet (she’s my favorite). She is the red haired dwarven warrior who shaved her beard to make a point and is running away from a dwarven legacy.

Together, they form the Rat Queens, an awesome group of lady friends who rid the sewers of rats, go on quests to kill the monsters lurking in the cave outside of town and drink a lot. They also swear, have the occasional hookup and get into a lot of bar fights. As punishment for one too many barroom brawls, the Rat Queens (as well as Peaches, Four Daves, Brother Ponies, and the Obsidian Darkness) are sent away on quests or they will be banned from the city.

They head out to rid the local cave of goblins. Part of it screams ‘Trap’ once they get there and what do you know, it was a trap. Someone has hired a merc assassin to take out the Queens and the other groups. Now the Queens are out for revenge. You better watch out.

Things I liked: I love that there are so many comics featuring bad ass ladies. And so many comics that have just blown me away this year (looking at you Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Captain Marvel, Miss Marvel, Bitch Planet, Pretty Deadly, NImona, and so much more.)

The plot is simple, in fact it’s really not that different than most D&D campaigns or fantasy novels. Except the Rat Queens are frakking bad ass. Snarky, smirking foul mouthed badasses. And they are hella funny. In fact, the relationships that they have with one another is the best, but I will get to that later. You start, at where else, the town. There is no real backstory, but I didn’t really need one. It’s like meeting your new companions for a new adventure at the local tavern.

Beyond the main plot you have some decent subplot as well. Betty wants to commit to the girl she likes. Violet’s brother shows up to bring her home. Hannah’s recklessness is beginning to get out of control. And Dee’s family as well as whom they worship may come into play.

It may have the typical sword and sorcery schtick. There is even some great satire on class and race systems, even more about tabletop gaming in general. I love the little homages to fantasy games. You have respawning of monsters, quests never really going according to plan, farming for components, and so much more. The pacing is quick and I was sad when it was over.

Oh how I love the Queens. I love the way they interact with one another, their varied personalities, and just the diversity all around (race, body types, sexuality). The ladies are sexy and badass, but not overly sexualized. I think they would probably be Chaotic good, maybe Chaotic Neutral. Doesn’t matter, they still kick ass. Yay lady friends. I just want to go adventuring with them. And also with Orc Dave and Braga.

I like the artwork here. I can also see how some may compare Rat Queens to Tank Girl D&D. You do have bad ass ladies after all. Not your average comic book heroes. I loved it all and I cannot wait to read the next trade volume. On order as we speak. Whoo hoo!  

Things I didn’t like so much: I got nothing. *Smile*

Buy or Borrow: Buy. I think you’ll love it. I’m off to go paint some minis and create a new Pathfinder character now.

Part of: Series

Also Recommended: For more bad ass ladies try Tank Girl, Captain Marvel, or Bitch Planet. For more fantasy try Princess Ugg or Nimona. Finally, if you are looking for some other lady featured comic try the Lumberjanes, Pretty Deadly, Miss Marvel with Kamala Khan and the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series.

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

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