Rat Queens holds a special place in my heart as one of those off the cuff comics that only comes around once a generation (or maybe it’s just my love for Dungeons and Dragons creating a rather large bias…hmmmm). Whatever the case may be, this spin off of Rat Queens, which focuses on Braga, meets all the requirements of a great, amusing and entertaining comic. Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Illustrated by Tess Fowler, Rat Queens Special: Braga #1 follows the tale of, you guessed it, Braga. Braga is no holds bar Orc warrior woman with an appetite for blood, battle and sex. She is also a great friend to some of the characters in the main volume of Rat Queens and her prowess in battle has helped the group on more than one occasion. It’s exciting to finally have a back story on this character.
It begins as expected: Braga is in her home taking a break from coitus with her latest handsome hunk. As she sips her coffee she retells the story of her life. Braga explains that she is first in line of a powerful Orc tribe. Her father, a Chieftain known as the “Broken”, consistently sends Braga into battle. It’s through these skirmishes that he hopes to toughen the somewhat open minded and gentle interior Braga possesses. After her last battle (or his, this is a little confusing in the retelling as Braga is drawn male in the flash back but is clearly female in the comic…is this a clue to how Braga sees herself? Or is there some sort of gender swapping that took place later in her history? Perhaps future issues will clarify this), she is celebrating in her home when the Chief takes her/him outside. It’s here where the Broken, Braga’s father, offers her the mantle of leader. Before accepting such responsibility Braga tests her father on a request she made. This test is failed when the Broken reveals he has enslaved the black smiths of their enemy in a cheap attempt at peace. Angered, Braga refuses leadership and disappears into the woods with her companion Kruk.
As Braga reveals to Kruk her plan to leave the tribe her father and brother plot her demise. Voon, Braga’s brother, is a true Orc through and through. He doesn’t have time for learned things and he will kill, enslave and screw anything in his way. Voon decides to take Broog (aka Braga) out of the picture so the Broken can pass the Chieftain’s mantle down to him (as it may only go to the first born unless he or she is slaughtered). With Broog out of the way, Voon could lead the orcs to bloodshed and violence whenever he damn well pleases. In an attempted coup, Voon and a group of his loyal goons ambush Kruk and Broog in the woods. Much to Voon’s dismay, seeing the death of Kruk sends Broog/Braga into a wild rage. Broog slaughters those loyal to her brother and then severs her brothers left arm. As a symbol of ultimate revenge, she drags her brother to her father’s table and slams his bleeding, broken body onto it. The comic fades back into the present with Braga smiling at her new lover’s astonishment. After some banter, she picks up her lover and carries him to her room for more passionate encounters.
Aside from extremely funny anecdotes this comic series deals with some very sexual (tastefully done) themes and should not be read by anyone who is not prepared to deal with it. Additionally, there is gore and limb tearing throughout the issue so if drawn blood makes you queasy this may not be the comic for you. Other than that, if you enjoy fantasy, humor and adventure then Rat Queens is one series I highly recommend. Pick it up today at your local comic shop or visit Image online for more issues and volumes. Happy reading!