When reading text like “So, when you said hotter than a dragon getting his dick tickled…” you probably imagine a pre-pubescent boy sitting in front of a computer screen, smack talking his latest opponent in League of Legends. Well, friend, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Rat Queens tells the story of four booze-chugging, death-bringing creatures (Hannah the Elven Mage, Violet the Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Human Cleric, and Betty the Hafling Thief) hailing from the fantastical city of Palisade. After causing too much ruckus in town square, the Rat Queens are sent on a quest to remove Goblins from Hindman Cave. In what starts off as a seemingly mindless task, the Queens get more than they bargained for.
The newest member of the Image Comics/Shadowline line-up, written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and drawn by Roc Upchurch, Rat Queens is essentially a mixture of fantasy lore and a quest from Dungeons & Dragons reimagined with modern dialogue. Upon first read though, I found myself completely turned off by the idea of modern dialogue being used in a fantasy setting, (reminding me too much of those painfully awful World of Warcraft commercials featuring Mr. T).
Deciding to give the book a second chance, I fell in love with Wiebe’s concept. The utilization of a female lead character is always something I like to see in comics, and this one has four! What’s even better is that they are substance-abusing, murder-loving females! However, each character’s personality wouldn’t exist without Wiebe’s hilarious writing. From ingesting massive amounts of candy and mushrooms for supper, to a discussion about “God” or the lack thereof, Wiebe writes with just the right amount of modern hilarity.
While the dialogue is fantastic, Rat Queens would only be toilet humor without Upchurch’s exceptional illustrating. Its beautiful coloring and scenery, which includes all essential fantasy lore (including dragons), brings to life a dream world all fantasy nerds would be happy to venture into.
Overall, Rat Queens is a fantastic book. The only complaint I had was the lack of plot development. Of course it is the premiere issue, so the lack in story is excused. While we did get a short look at Palisade and the hills outside city walls, it would have been nice to know what to expect in the coming months. However, the laughter that ensued while reading made me forget about it until now.
Fans of all genres will find enjoyment in this book. With it’s over the top crudity, infused with beautifully drawn “classic” fantasy themes and modern dialogue, Rat Queens promises to be one of the premier books this year.