By Christine Marie Vinciquarra
Right off the bat I knew that Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery, was going to be a fun read. When I turned to the first page I felt like I had just tuned in to watch a new reality TV show. “Meet the Queens,” was displayed in large letters above four pages with an illustration and quote from each of the Rat Queens. This allowed me to get a feel for each character and form a first impression for what these women might be like. I quickly realized that this team of adventurers was one unique powerhouse, and couldn’t wait to learn more about each of them.
The Rat Queens are made up of four women: Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric, Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, and Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter. Together they fight crime and protect their hometown, Palisade. However, they’re not the only group of creative characters keeping the town safe. Along with the Rat Queens there are four other groups: Peaches, Four Daves, Brother Ponies, and Obsidian Darkness. It’s almost like Kurtis J. Wiebe played an intense game of Dungeons and Dragons and decided to use his characters from the game to write an epic story, which is awesome.
Hannah, Violet, Betty, and Dee are the perfect combination of funny and badass. The plot is filled with action packed battle scenes and a cast of secondary characters equally as interesting as the Rat Queens themselves. But it’s not all about the fighting and mystery solving in this story. The Rat Queens know how to party and aren’t afraid to concoct a cocktail or two while they experiment with sex and drugs.
I was particularly enthralled by Hannah and Sawyer’s relationship. It’s clear that there was something between the two of them in the past. I found their exchange while Hannah was being detained, filled with tension, both regular and sexual. I’m curious to know what happened with them in the past, and I hope that Wiebe touches on that at some point. Now while I love all of the Rat Queens, Betty is definitely my favorite. Out of the four Rat Queens, I think she has the best personality. Wiebe gives her the funniest lines. She has a bright playful spirit, but knows how to get down and dirty with a sword.
Roc Upchurch’s art in Rat Queens has a dark earthy feel to it, which is very appropriate for the setting. His character design is done in a realistic style that brings the cast to life in a human way. They are all detailed which contributes to their unique personalities. Even the trolls are detailed. Every scene is layered to give the environment a natural sense of depth and space. You really feel like you’re being transported to a different time, and that’s how I judge the great artists from the bad ones.
If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, World of Warcraft, or Dungeons and Dragons, this might be the comic series for you! I’d also recommend this comic to new readers because it really shows the potential of how different comics can be. The characters are much different than your typical heroes, which makes the story refreshing and quite funny. This trade paperback collects issues 1-5 of Rat Queens. Issue 6 is available in comic book stores now, and Issue 7 will be released on July 9th.
Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery from Image Comics is written by Kurtis J. Wiebe, with art by Roc Upchurch.
Christine Marie Vinciquarra is a freelance writer and aspiring author of young adult literature. She has a deep passion for all things creative, and enjoys blogging & vlogging about the process of writing, creativity, and imagination. She is currently working on a young adult paranormal romance novel. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AWritersWay or on her blog writerchristinemarie.wordpress.com