Off the Shelf: Rat Queens, volume #1: Sass & Sorcery

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery (Rat Queens Vol. 1: 1-5)Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had heard Rat Queens mentioned a couple of times on the Earwolf forums as I listened to/followed Brian Posehn’s Nerd Poker & I wish now I had checked the series out sooner! RQ follows a band of four female mercenaries as they brawl, loot, & generally cause all sorts of trouble in the town of Palisade. Violet the Dwarven Fighter wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything stereotypically dwarven. Hannah the Elven Mage would fit right into the psychobilly scene (if there were such a thing in fantasy lands). Dee the Human Cleric no longer believes in her god, & Betty the Smidgen Thief is Leslie Knope on party-girl pills. The four are sent off on a menial goblin-clearing quest on the outskirts of town. But in the midst of their fight, assassins try to off them & the Rat Queens soon discover that they’re more unpopular than they originally realized. They’re on the hunt to find out who’s trying to do them in.

Rat Queens is super fun! The dialog is snappy & witty–characters often let each other know whether or not their fight banter landed. (“Orcs know only one language. Blood. I’m the fucking alphabet.” Needless to say, that quote wins the issue.) The characters all have different, interesting backstories outlined with economy & feeling. The story itself mixes comedy & action with good rhythm & a lot of heart. Even the small details are captivating–Betty’s field rations that consist of candy & mushrooms, a dog tethered in the town market that has horns & a scaly lizard tail, the text boxes that preview the next issue with wording like: Shut up, Gary! +5 attack rolls against dudes named Gary. I love this series & I’d recommend it for D&Ders who enjoy some self-deprecation with their action or genre-savvy readers looking for something new.

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