Comics Review: "Rat Queens" #1
- by Ninja Ross, 25 September 2013
Thanks to "Game of Thrones", fantasy has become pretty popular. With that, we’re naturally going to get a whole lot of fantasy books, comics, movies, video games and TV shows flooding the market. Naturally, plenty of these things are going to be obvious copies that couldn’t possibly live up to the product they’re trying to emulate.
Their only hope of returning to their life of beer-drinking and face-punching is to take on a simple, tedious monster hunting task given to them by the mayor of Palisade, Atticus Kane and its protector, Sawyer Silver. It could be worse, of course; another group, the Obsidian Darkness, are forced to clean out the toilets in the barracks. Troll hunting sounds considerably cleaner.
Of course, not everything is as it seems. Simple toilet cleaning turns into something completely different for Obsidian Darkness when an assassin attacks. While our heroes, The Rat Queens, are hunting for trolls, things don't go much better for them, either.
It seems like a pretty simple “adventurers targeted by assassins” plot so far. We’ve seen this plenty of times in fantasy but this plot isn’t what makes this book original. Sure, I’m looking forward to seeing WHY they’ve all been targeted and, after reading Wiebe’s incredible Green Wake; I’m sure the why is going to be plenty original and interesting. But it’s the characters that make this book.
The Rat Queens are Hannah, a no nonsense leader. Violet: the blood thirsty warrior. Dee: the Ex-cultist and Betty... The drugged up horny gnome.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a gnome talk about sex while eating magic mushrooms and candy. It’s pretty unusual, to say the least. But these sorts of characters are often over done to the point where they’re stupid and two dimensional. Betty, however, manages to stay interesting and kind of adorable.
Rat Queens also has some pretty crisp art by Rock Upchurch, whose name sounds a bit too awesome to be real. Every panel is a joy to look at and manages to find the line between serious storytelling and cartoons that makes books like Chew and Skullkickers so incredible. Every character has their own unique look, despite limitations of the cartoon style, and each one is expressive. Wiebe’s pacing and ability to write comedy is a perfect fit for Upchurch’s style.
It’s a fantastically funny book with a seemingly predictable plot and fun characters. If future issues are as good as this, it should be worth following it to its conclusion. If you haven’t already picked it up, do so now. Right now. Stop reading this and go buy.
...I said stop reading this.
Did you pick up "Rat Queens" #1? Do you share Ninja Ross' opinions on it? Sound off in the comments section!