Sunday 15 November 2015

#CBR7 Books 116-117: "Rat Queens, vol 1 and 2" by Kurtis J. Weibe and Roc Upchurch

Total page count: 256 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Rat Queens, volume 1: Sass and Sorcery
Rat Queens, volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth

Meet the fierce and fearsome ladies of the Rat Queens, although calling them ladies is probably to exaggerate. There's Hannah the Elven Mage, whose parents are both necromancers; Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, who shaved her beard off and left her family because she wanted to brawl; Dee the Atheist Human Cleric, whose family are Cultists of the giant Squid God of N'Rygoth and last, and while least in size, by no means any less formidable, Betty the Smidgen Thief, frequently drugged to her eye balls on sugar or hallucinogens. What's a Smidgen, you ask? As far as I can tell, some sort of fantasy mix of a midget and a hobbit.

The four members of the Rat Queens are only one of the bands of adventurers/mercenaries (the others include the very Gothy Obsidian Darkness, another band of lady-dominated fighters, the Peaches, and the Four Daves (my favourite group name!)) in the town of Palisade. At the start of Sass and Sorcery, they are in the town jail, after yet another destructive bar brawl, and Sawyer, the captain of the City Watch (and occasional fuck buddy of Hannah) has an ultimatum from the Mayor for all of them. The various bands can go off and perform the quests assigned, or be banished from the town forever. The Rat Queens are told to rid a nearby cave of goblins and reluctantly agree. Turns out, the missions are traps, with each of the groups ambushed and attacked by one of the dark, ninja-like warriors from the Black Khali. Few of bands make it back intact, but the Rat Queens will not be stopped, by goblins or legendary fighters.

They try to investigate who might be behind the assassinations, but have to join forces with the other surviving adventurers to defend Palisade from a horde of vengeful goblins. Once the battle and subsequent victory celebrations are over, Dee discovers that ninja assassins may be the least of their problems, however.

In The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'Rygoth the readers are given more back story into each of the Rat Queens, and they face a much bigger threat than a horde of goblins or some Black Khali assassins. Someone has a serious grudge against Sawyer, the captain of the City Watch, and is not afraid to summon some truly dark powers to get even. Dee is visited by an individual from her past, come to tell her that the ceremonial Death Mask of the High Priest of N'Rygoth has been stolen. In the wrong hands, it can unleash murder, madness, chaos and horrible tentacled monsters in the skies. The Rat Queens and the other warriors in Palisade have to band together to fight against unspeakable horrors, before their town is completely destroyed.

Rat Queens is a great comic, full of violence, adventure, sex, humour and swearing. The protagonists are fast-talking, foul-mouthed, hard-hitting and great friends. Not only is this comic very diverse, I would be surprised if it didn't pass the Bechdel test in every issue. I was given the first volume as a Christmas present by my husband, but didn't get round to reading it until a while after volume 2 came out. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy, role-playing games, adventure or just good comics.

 Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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