Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Rat Queens, Vol. 1 by Kurtis Wiebe


What a great pleasure it is to come across something that is just plain fun. Funny, witty, full of characters that worm their way into your hearts and say pithy things just when you most want them to. While also killing just about everything in sight.

Like most graphic novels, this one was loaned to me by my friend Melissa. She has good taste in that territory, and I gulped it down one Saturday, laughing out loud at least once. It reads very much like someone has illustrated beautifully the best parts of a rowdy D&D adventuring party, out to take drugs and kill monsters, not necessarily in that order. 

We have a kickass mage, Hannah, a dwarf who shaved off her beard and is not going home to join the family business, Violet, a cleric to a seemingly Cthulhu-esque god who abstains from her religion not because she doesn't believe in it, but because it's awful, and Betty, a halfling who is all about the drugs, candy, fighting, and women. 

They are sent out on a mission in the first issue to clear out some bandits, while other adventuring parties in town are sent out on other classic roleplaying missions. However, what they find instead is a troll, far more dangerous than expected. With great difficulty, they return to town, to find most of the other adventuring parties were killed off entirely or partially in similarly more-dangerous-than-they-should-be low level adventures.

Who could be trying to kill off all the adventurers? It's not like they consistently destroyed the town every week or so with bar brawls....oh, wait.

The story for the first arc is fairly simple, but immensely fun. We don't need uber-complicated here, when you've got such rich relationships between women, and interpersonal affairs flying fast and furious. 

The book really did capture the feel of old-school roleplaying. Some of the lines I could have seen coming from the lips of my friends as we fought yet another pack of goblins on the way to some treasure.

I always find I struggle to find enough to say about graphic novels. I read them at a gulp, they're thin and tasty, but then there's not as much content to go into - and I'm not a visual thinker, so while I enjoy the pictures, they don't stay with me at all, and you're unlikely to find me identifying patterns there.

So, this is a shorter review, but it comes down to this - if you've ever played D&D, you should enjoy this book. And even if you haven't, there's a better than average chance you'll like it.

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