Their day started out as any other with their particularly favorite social interaction: Bar brawling. But what was meant to be a simple life of dungeon diving, adventuring and brawling turns into a retail conspiracy and magical conundrum for the one and only Rat Queens. Not unlike many D&D’esque comics the Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch is full of elves, humans, orcs, dwarves and those ever playful (and hungry) hobbits (called “smidgens” in this comic). This comic was referred to me by a fella from Gotham City Comics (if you are ever in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona drop by and browse there, it’s a great comic shop that also sells food and coffee 😉 ). Always looking out for a new series I gave this volume a try and was pleasantly surprised.
The story starts, as mentioned, with a bar brawl. It’s from this brawl (spoiler) that the Rat Queens and three other impulsive adventuring groups are called into court (y’know, to account for all the damages to the town). In an effort to get the four groups out of town the Captain of the Guard assigns each group an adventure/quest. If they quest is successfully completed then each group is permitted to return to town so long as they avoid brawling and/or causing further damage to the local shops/pubs. Per your average adventure, the group sets off through a forest in search of the goblins hanging out in Hindman cave (goblins which they insist were wiped out weeks ago – me thinks I smell a plot?). Needless to say, there are no goblins and the Rat Queens face a rather unruly assassin who is anti-climatically killed…actually, let’s go smashed by a very annoyed Troll. It’s here where the Rat Queen’s flaunt their skill and take down the beast by throwing a very excited smidgen through the air to gouge his eyes out. Rough for the troll, but amusing for the reader (yes, there’s quite a bit of gore so be sure your kids are 13 or older before having them read this series).
Troll down, the all female group of adventurers comprised of: an elf with an ego, a smidgen who loves sex and drugs, a dwarf with a hidden past and a healer whose parents worshiped something that resembles Cthulu (she herself worships nothing…and somehow heals…and all that jazz) return to town to hunt down the vixen that set them up. It’s all rather dramatic and the interaction between the characters is fantastic; seriously, it’s like Hot Fuzz meeting Lord of The Rings. Continuing on, the group discovers that they were setup by a shop keeper whose windows they broke one too many times. Dealing justice, in a proper fashion, the girls decide it’s time to relax…only that doesn’t happen. Why, you ask? Well, remember that Troll? Turns out he had a girlfriend and she is like the queen of a huge freaking orc, ogre troll army! The story quickly falls into chaos as town guards, adventurers and townsfolk alike scramble to defend of rather useless brick wall from the onslaught of a seriously pissed off Troll Queen.
Thankfully, this story ends well and the group defeats the Troll leader without suffering permanent loss of life. Wrapping up the drama, the volume ends with a party and some reflection on the events of the week. There is also an interesting tidbit at the end that relates to the healer but I won’t spoil it for you; you’ll just have to pick up a copy and discover for yourself the mystery the concludes Sass and Sorcery.
Overall, I highly recommend this series. The art work is well rounded, the characters provide immense comic relief and the story is pretty sound. So, if you see Rat Queens at your local shop or online pick up a copy and give it chance! It’s worth every cent.