I am a fan of the Rat Queens series from Image Comics and have been ever since a friend of mine recommended it to me a year back. I’ve read nearly every issue. As such, I was concerned when I heard that starting this month there would be a new creative team leading the series. Thankfully, after reading the special “One-Shot” issue, my fears have been assuaged.
Rat Queens Special: Swamp Romp by writer and letter Ryan Ferrier, penciler Priscilla Petraites, and colorist Marco Lesko is a fun side-story featuring our favorite quartet of irreverent adventurers that serves as a fun taste of what the new creative team will offer to longtime fans as well as a good jumping-on point for newcomers.
The story begins with the Rat Queens, elven sorceress Hannah, dwarven fighter Violet, human priestess Delilah, smidgen thief Betty, and their newest member Braga, the orc, sitting around a table drinking. They are soon approached by an elderly man carrying the head of his former unicorn pet.
The man introduces himself as Gossamer Hornwood and explains that the legendary Slog Chimp killed his precious unicorn, Chauncey. The group is hesitant but Hornwood offers his entire fortune to them should they succeed at killing the legendary beast and bringing him it’s head. Seeing this as too good of an opportunity to pass up, the Rat Queens accept. Soon enough they find themselves in a swamp where nothing is quite as it seems, and the truth behind the adventurer is soon made clear.
For the first time writing these characters, Ryan Ferrier does an excellent job of capturing the silly, raunchy nature of the series. Being that it’s a one-shot issue and the story needs to be resolved within the 20-odd pages there aren’t any emotional or heavily dramatic stakes.
As a result, we don’t get to see as much of the rich characterization that the series is known for, but I count that as more of a symptom of the format than the writing. Ferrier also does double duty as the letterer for the book as well. A job which he does excellently. The letters are well placed, clear, and serve to enhance the story as well as draw the eye toward the beautiful art. They accomplish everything that you could hope they could.
The pencils by Priscilla Petraites look stunning. Considering the storied past of artists for the series, I can safely say that with Petraites doing the pencils the series will be in good hands. The main crew has never looked better, and it is clear that Petraites is having fun with the frenetic and absurd nature of the action. Balanced perfectly with the gorgeous artwork are the colors by Marco Lesko.
Lesko’s colors succeed at bringing life, and sometimes gruesome death, to Petraites’ pencilwork. Thanks to his work the pages are vivid and a joy to look at, even when what’s going on in the panel might make we want to look away instead.
Overall, if this introductory issue is anything to go on, I’m happy with the new creative team. The writing is snappy and fun, the art is gorgeous, and everything seems solid. It’s definitely different, and it may take a little bit for longtime fans of the series to settle in, but despite that, I’m excited to see where the Rat Queens go from here.
Rat Queens Special: Swamp Romp will be in comics stores everywhere on April, 10th 2019
Rating: 4.25/5 Dead Unicorns