Rat Queens is a comic by Kurtis J Wiebe with art by Roc Upchurch and later Stjepan Sejic, and published by Image Comics. It follows the adventures of the titular group in and around the town of Palisade. Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, and volume 2: the Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth comprise a full story arc which is why I’m reviewing them together. Plenty of fights, some nudity and sex, and lots of cursing—in both senses of the word—Rat Queens is great fun but not for kids.
The world of Rat Queens has a D&D RPG flavor to it, medieval-ish look with lots of magic, and lots of humor. The back of Sass and Sorcery describes the Rat Queens as “Hannah, the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.” Hannah, the leader of the group, is the most violent of the bunch, with Violet a close second. But whereas Violet is more professional about it, Hannah is definitely having too much fun. The most tactful, prudent, and introverted of the Rat Queens is Dee, who actually saves some of her earnings instead of spending it all on booze and drugs, and stays sober during parties. And Betty, who brings drugs and candy for dinner, and also plucks out eyeballs—not as a hobby, just the once…that we’re shown, anyway.
There’s also the Four Daves—Orc Dave has bluebirds of healing that live in his beard—and the Peaches, led by Tizzie with whom Hannah is frienemies. And there’s Sawyer, the long-suffering head of the Town Guard has an thing with Hannah. There are other mercenary parties too, and other interesting characters to meet, but I’ll let you do that on your own.
We start off with assassination attempts on all the adventuring parties in Palisade, with various degrees of success. Needless to say, the Rat Queens are pissed and not inclined to leave things in the hands of the law. There’s also an encounter with a troll, an encounter with a twin brother, and from there the consequences start spinning out. Then at the end of volume one, Dee makes a discovery that shocks her, and leads us into volume two.
The boss fights are awesome and full of drama. There’s also plenty drama centered on family—why Violet and Dee each left home, Hannah’s mother—and romantic—Hannah and Sawyer, Betty and Faeyri, the trolls. Even the big bad has his romantic side.
Rat Queens so far has been a lot of fun. Action and snark oriented, I enjoyed the first two volumes and look forward to picking up more.