I needed something to hold me over between trades of Saga, one of the best comic book series I’ve read in a loooooonnnnnggg time (really, since Fables decided to get kind of boring).
Enter Rat Queens vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery. When reading descriptions of this new series I kept seeing references to Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings, things that make me shudder in horror. In the Pop Culture Sorting System in my head, those two get shoved into the “Shakespeare/RenFest” bucket of things I don’t care about at all. Games of Thrones lives there too, along with most anything that features a dragon or a dungeon. Look, I can’t care about everything. I’m okay with this.
Anyway, the Rat Queens kicked over that bucket, grabbed me by chin, and shouted “You will love us” right into my face. They were right, I do love them. What is not to love? They are a quartet of ass-kicking, hearty-partying mercenaries who take no shit. The queens have apt descriptions from the book cover, “Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric, and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.” What that doesn’t tell you this these women are also different races & body shapes, which is a breath of fresh air when it comes to comicbook ladies. It’s nice to see realistic breasts in a superhero-esque woman.
So in “Sass & Sorcery” the queens are wrecking havoc in a town called Palisade fucking & drugging their way through the village. When the book opens the Queens are being sprung from jail and are sent on a quest to kill a giant. It seems all the “merc” gangs in town have been sent on quests to rid the surrounding area of menaces. Things don’t go as planned, and soon the Queens find out there’s a bigger plan afoot.
The rest of the volume sets up that mystery while introducing us to the queens, giving us tasty bits of each of their background and slowly revealing their personalities.
It is so much fun.
What I liked so much is that I never had that floaty, WTF feeling I often get when I start a new series in a world I am unfamiliar with. From page 1, I was on solid ground with the Rat Queens, the art and the writing made it perfectly clear what kind of world we were in and what kind of characters we were dealing with. So nice.
Even better is that each of the queens has a distinct personality and depending on the page, a different one was my absolute favorite. As I finished the book Dee and Betty were duking it out for the #1 spot in my heart. I’m sure that will change as soon as I read Volume 2 which I already want so bad I can hardly stand it.