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Comic Book Review: Rat Queens

Rat Queens is a comic book series published by Image Comics, written by Kutis J. Wiebe, and drawn by Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Šejić, Tess Fowler and now Owen Gieni. The story is currently three volumes in (17 issues) with the 18th issue on the way. Rat Queens takes place in a medieval fantasy setting following a group of four unruly, hard drinking, vulgar female mercenaries and their crazy adventures. Hannah an Elven Mage, Dee the Human Cleric, Violet a Dwarven Warrior and Betty who’s a Smidgen. The series is chock full of potential and should be praised for its artwork, fun cast of characters, action
 scenes, humorous dialogue and interpersonal relationships. It’s a very straightforward series and it doesn’t try to be anything more than it is. It’s a series that thrives off its aesthetics, action and characters.

This comic book series is first and foremost very pleasing to the eye. The character designs are vivacious, impressive and original. All of the members of Rat Queens look cool. Hannah has a sexy empowering outfit, Betty has cute clothes, Dee has mysterious purple mage-like robes and Violet has some sweet armor. That includes the other mercenary groups. They fit in well within the universe and each group offers refreshing looking characters. The setting and background buildings are coloured nicely and drawn well. They fit the world that the characters live in. Upchurch and Šejić truly out did themselves bringing the series to life.

Building off of the phenomenal artwork, the artists draw amazing action sequences. The hand to hand combat, swordplay, spellcasting, magic, movement and blood are all well drawn which really make the fights feel more vibrant. In intense moments when the characters really put their all into defeating their enemies, the artists take the whole page to show us panel-for-panel how badass and awesome these girls are. One thing I found that manga does a lot better than comics is create better fight scenes. Rat Queens is one of the few comics with great fights scenes that could give any battle manga a run for its money.

To be sure, the shining point of this comic, aside from the artistry, is the characters. They’re so much fun to experience with their potty mouths, heavy drinking, drug abuse, violence and sexual escapades. They all drink way too much and some of them feel it in the morning. For example, Betty created a drink that’s primarily mushrooms and it completely destroyed everyone that drank it. Hannah had some magic hookah bong thing that she openly admitted was not safe for smoking but smoked it anyways. These aren’t admirable traits but it’s entertaining to read. Each of the main characters has a main squeeze. Betty has a female sexual partner and at no point does the narrative feel the need to single her out for it, understanding that Betty’s character isn’t defined by her sexuality.

In addition to that, the relationships between the characters are powerful and leave an impression on the reader. Sure they are rough, unlawful drunkards who fight a lot but they’re extremely loyal to one another. This team has clearly built a strong bond where they care deeply for one another and trust each other wholeheartedly. Hannah and her not so significant other have an especially interesting relationship because they love each other but never act upon their true feelings. The interpersonal relationships between the characters are great.

To conclude, so far, Rat Queens is off to a great start. An incredibly fun comic series to read with lovable characters, superb art work, great action and humorous mature content. Rat Queens was greenlit to become a cartoons series back in 2014, not sure what’s happening with that but Rat Queens is a great comic book series with lots of potential. 8 Hannah’s out of 10.

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