Rat Queens #1: Review

Imagine Charlie’s Angels, but without a patriarch to boss the girls around. Now make those girls mythical creatures with a penchant for drug use, violence, and just a touch of promiscuity and this what you’d have: The Rat Queens.

Here’s the official word from Image:

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 gods’ creatures for profit. It’s also a darkly comedic fantasy series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Hobbit 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!

Set in a mythical realm reminiscent of every board game that you’ve ever played, The Rat Queens are, in essence, a pack of frat girls who’ve been guarding the outskirts of a magical village from roaming monsters. But it seems they’re bored. They’ve been getting into bar fights and wrecking other havoc lately, so the town has sent them on quest that is less about achieving something and more about getting them to finally hit the road. Much of Rat Queens #1 documents the beginning of this journey, and writer Kurtis J. Wiebe does a solid job of setting the stage, and crafting clever scenes where we get to know these characters. And just when the action gets slow, someone gets their head cut off. The level of violence Wiebe displays in this first issue is a bit unexpected, but overall it sets the tone quite nicely. This is going to be a Tarantino-style bloodfest with magic, elves, and heavy doses of RPG tropes. And really, so far, so good. My only criticism of Wiebe’s writing is the occasional bit of precious dialogue — he sometimes tries too hard to make his characters sound clever. And they sound silly instead.

Roc Upchurch provides the art for Rat Girls, and his style fits perfectly. UpChurch is especially gifted at facial expressions, and is able to easily capture the balance of sass and humor that’s essential if this title is going to work. He can also accurately render diced brains, and thick coils of intestines, which judging from issue #1, might be very helpful in this ultra-violent new series.

Overall, Rat Queens #1 is a strong first issue. If you want guts, magic, and a lovely overdose of femme fatale, go grab this thing today.


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