Off the Shelf — Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery


Nutshell: Inappropriate, raunchy, with dialogue that’s borderline NSFW?  Yes please. Gorgeous art, an addictive story, great dialogue and lovely letters.  Leaves you wanting more, which is the highest compliment I can give a series.  If this is the new face of fantasy comics, I’m all in. Grade: A

Story: Four badass fighters for hire have to clear the forest of goblins.  Think D&D, but with way more cursing and booze.  And I don’t know about you, but my D&D days were filled with cursing and booze.  Filled.

Best Lines:

“Did you seriously pack candy and drugs for dinner?”
“What’s with men and tentacles?  Sick of this shit.”
“You put an arrow in my favorite boob, fuckwit!”

Thoughts:  I used to play D&D.  Didn’t we all?  *crickets*  Anyway, if I were to play nowadays, this is how I’d want to play it; a gang of whipsmart gals who are into sex, drugs and violence, and give zero fucks if you’re down with that or not.  This is the D&D you wish you could play, with characters that’ll launch a thousand cosplays come Comic-Con.  Rat Queens are what Xena, Warrior Princess would be if she had a gang of galpals, no edit button, and a predilection for illicit substances.  Yeah, definitely awesome.

Our merry “Adventuring Company” consists of:

  •   Dee: cleric, former acolyte of squid god N’rygoth.
  • Hannah: elven mage with parental issues.
  • Betty: a Smidgen that loves excesss (think Dionysius but blond, female and dinky.)
  • Violet: dwarf with a drinking problem…she won’t drink Dwarven Ale. On principle.

Plus, there’s Braga, a half-orc badass that isn’t with the Queens, but is awesome just the same.  (She even got her own one-shot this month.  Nice.)

I can see why this series was nominated for a Best New Series Eisner last year.  It’s damn good.  I’m already partial to Dee, naturally.  But for more than her name.  Her bio?  “My parents worship a giant flying squid.  Holidays get weird.”  Okay girl.  You’re my BFF.

Roc Upchurch’s artwork is top-notch. Beautiful colors too, and some high-class gore for when the sheisse hits the sword.  (Pity he doesn’t have the best Real Life reputation.  Eek.)  Hopefully  Stjepan Šejić will keep the quality up, as he takes over with #9. Then there’s Ed Brisson’s lettering — important in stories like this that deal with spells, foreign languages and ker-splats  — is fun to read, pretty to look at, and easy to follow.

But the best part is Kurtis J. Weibe’s storytelling.  There’s a definite Campaign vibe to Sass & Sorcery, down to the plus/minus shout-outs at the end of each issue.  I found myself wanting to stop, grab some friends, and demand that they read what I just read.  Probably best I’m sitting by my lonesome right now.  That’d probably get damn annoying after awhile.  They’d thank me later.

Subscribe or Shelve:  You want to get your grubbies on this series.  Trust me.  It might be too late to get on the “liked it before everyone else” train, but you’re not gonna want to miss this  ride.

Publication 411:  Contains the first 5 issues of the series.  Hit shelves 4/8/2014.

[NOTE: I received a copy of this title pre-publication via Netgalley.  I received no compensation for my review.  Not even a tiny little bag of candy and ‘shrooms.]

This entry was posted in Comic book reviews, Comics & Graphic Novels, General Mayhem and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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