What better way to start the newest volume of an adventure story than with a massacre scene showing dozens of bodies strewn across a field. A closer look, however, reveals ubiquitous red cups (among other things) and a banner reading “Party Party Party.” The girls are back in town and we’ve missed them, for sure!
“‘CAT KINGS AND OTHER GARYS,’ Part One. The Rat Queens are back! Betty, Violet, Dee, Braga, and Hannah return! Palisade is still a rat-infested troll’s ass, and everyone still hates Gary. It’s been a while since the Queens have done a good slaughter, so join them as they get back to the basics of killing monsters and drinking away the profits.”
This opening image is and has been what Rat Queens is all about. On the surface, we are given the expected crew of adventurers hewing foes and derring-their-doing. A magic user, a thief, a fighter, a healer make of the usual fantasy races to fill out the party. Composed of the near demonic, very small, dwarflike and human and maybe something monster-ish, all the components for a successful campaign are in place. But in addition to the fictional representations, these are also the familiar personalities of our gamer friends. It just so happens that on these pages they are all beautiful and powerful women. “Blindly to the bloodletting, my Queens!” shouts Violet, the ginger dwarven warrior as they burst into the abandoned structure drawn by the sound of combat.
This issue has our Queens find a group of so-called “Cat Kings” infringing on their turf led by Vi’s brother Barrie and looking like quite a poor copy, cowardly and not very bright. The final boss a goose dragon that hurls beams and sonic bolts and spews gas of some kind.
With artwork of excruciating detail and manic energy, Gieni captures the spirit and personality of the Queen with a beauty and simplicity that is easy to enjoy. Wiebe gives us sharp dialogue and expertly turns our expectations upside down.
All fun and games until somebody gets hurt, but mostly all fun.