Review: Rat Queens Volumes 1 & 2 by Kurtis J. Weibe & Roc Upchurch

RatQueensVol1Series: Rat Queens
Published by: Image Comics
ISBN: 1607069458 / 1632150409
ISBN 13: 9781607069454 / 9781632150400
Published: April 2014 / May 2015
Pages: 128 / 140
Format reviewed: Trade for Vol 1 / eCopy from NetGalley for Vol 2
Site: Comic Site
Goodreads: Volume One / Volume Two
Stars: Five out of Five

In this review I’ll be speaking of both volumes in the same post. Volume One is on the shortlist for the Hugo Awards and is in very good company, along with Ms Marvel, Saga, Sex Criminals (followed then by ‘No Award’ for those who understand what’s happening in the Hugos this year), so it’s going to be a tough choice out of these four.

The first volume introduces us to the Rat Queens and what they do for a living – basically, if you’ve played World of Warcraft you’ll catch on quickly; they’re assigned quests such as: clear the area of goblins. However, this one has a twist where it seems like someone is out to kill them – out to kill all the raiding parties that have been sent out on similar jobs, and it’s only a few who manage to crawl back to the tavern to compare stories.

The Rat Queens are made up of Hannah the Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric, and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. They’re breaking down the walls built up around comics and female characters in general, being brash and rude and excellent, able to hold their own without needing a male character to swoop in and save them. The sarcasm also helps.

The artwork is pleasant – I really enjoyed it. It’s not for everyone though – Tsana, who I always look to for her opinion, didn’t quite like it as much as I did.

The plot was engaging – I immediately want to know who is out to kill them and why, and what the bigger picture is here. The ending of the first volume is satisfying yet also leaves you wanting more, so it’s a good thing I have the second volume ready and waiting to dive into without waiting.RatQueensVol2

Volume Two!

This more or less starts where the first volume left off, as they recover from the night before. We start with a domestic scene and then bickering; few things work better at getting someone to identify and love a group of characters.

They’re soon back to work, and other plots tie both volumes in quite closely together as characters make another appearance and we see the history of some of the main characters also, which allows us to understand and relate to them a little more. Overall, Betty is a little annoying and I think the other three are in competition for my favourite character – with Hannah possibly in front in this volume, but only just.

Other than that, the plot in this one is a little more complex and confusing thanks to a creature that feeds of displaced realities, pulling them all back and fro into confusing pages. The epic ending makes this a killer series, one that’s very enjoyable and quick to read because you just can’t put it down. Especially as the last page ends on a cliffhanger!

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