‘Rat Queens Swamp Romp’ — Bedtime Stories, Unicorn Dreams

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Rat Queens Swamp Romp

From MAJK’s Coffee Corner:

Rat Queens Swamp Romp is a one-shot frenetic and absurd adventure through the Swamps of Gnarnathal. The Queens take a revenge job from a sickly old guy wanting to avenge the death of his noble steed. It seems like such a cake walk. He even knows exactly which beast is responsible. Unfortunately, this cakewalk turns in to a whole lot more. Sure, there’s cake. In fact, there’s lavender and cupcakes, but there’s also a terrifying monster from Hannah’s youth, a deadly disease that threatens Vi’s life, and some oddities about their benefactor that bring up all kind of questions. The Rat Queens new creative team hits a hard homer on this one-shot adventure guaranteed to prove the Queens are back and better than ever.

Spoiler Warning: If you have not read Rat Queens Swamp Romp, there will be spoilers below.
Rat Queens Special: Swamp Romp Cover Art
Rat Queens Special: Swamp Romp Cover Art

Rat Queens Swamp Romp Cover

You get a unicorn, and you get a unicorn. Everyone gets a unicorn! Priscilla Petraites starts it off right with a gorgeous cover filled with the most magical beasts known to humankind—UNICORNS. There’s a bit of a hint of what’s to come in her cover with Braga carrying a… partial unicorn. Hannah looks more than a bit terrified as a carefree Betty clings to her. Dee, the goddess that she is, seems perfectly confident astride her steed, while Vi hugs hers with a dreamy look that makes me wonder if she’s been into Betty’s mushroom stash.

The nighttime hues and overlarge full moon create an atmosphere that is both ominous yet magical. The character designs of our ladies are so on point that I’m ready to dub Petraites the best Rat Queens artist yet—no offense to Roc Upchurch intended.

Creative Team

Publisher: Image        Writer & Letterer: Ryan Ferrier        Cover & Art: Priscilla Petraites

Colors: Marco Lesko      Editor: Melanie Hackett

Home Sweet Tavern

After all the trauma, emotion, and victories of the last three issues, our favorite adventure-seeking ladies are taking some much needed down time in the one place sure to soothe their… souls. That’s right, their souls. Any true Rat Queens fan (or someone who has known the girls five minutes) knows this means a tavern.

Here these super responsible, hard-working, and wholesome ladies are scouting new work and plotting a quest. Okay, you can stop laughing. They’re drinking enough to knock-out an entire army. Rather, they would be. The problem is the flow of alcohol is drying up, due to the fact their funds are drying up. That’s right friends; the Rat Queens are once more flat broke. How does this keep happening?

Rat Queens Swamp Romp page 6
Rat Queens Swamp Romp page 6

Enter Gossiper Hornyman

As the conversation finally turns to their need for work, a sickly looking elderly man, carrying a large bundle spattered with blood, interrupts their banter to offer them work. He explains that it’s “dangerous as hell,” but he’s quick to assure them that he’s “filthy stinking rich.” That’s enough for Betty, who decides the next round is on “Gossiper Hornyman.” Sure, his real name is Gossamer Hornwood, but it’s all the same to our darling drunken little Smidgen.

That large blood splattered parcel, well, it’s a ghastly bit of gore that devastated the little girl in me. As you can see in the preview, a poor precious unicorn was murdered. Gossamer is on a quest for revenge. What hideous monster could harm a sweet defenseless unicorn, you ask. Well, according to Gossamer, none other than that elven boogeyman the Slog Chimp. That’s right. The Slog Chimp from the Swamps of Gnarnathal. Say that ten times fast.

Rat Queens Swamp Romp page 7
Rat Queens Swamp Romp page 7

Shattered Unicorn Dreams 

Braga’s convinced the Gossamer is nuts. Betty’s all in because she swears she knows the Slog Chimp. Keep in mind Betty’s full of spirit… or rather spirits, the alcoholic kinds. No one takes her seriously. Hannah is oddly defiantly against taking the job. Dee’s hoping there’s money in it. And Vi is strangely obsessed with the unicorn head.

Thus begins the Rat Queens Swamp Romp. The name says it all. It is every bit a Rat Queens Romp with all the zaniness, sarcasm, and violence that that entails. Soooo much violence. It’s also quite literally in a Swamp. The Nasty, muck-ridden, smelly Swamps of Gnarnathal.

Once in the swamp is when things start to go off the rails. Unicorns do exist, and they even smell like lavender and cupcakes. However, once you meet these unicorns, you may never see cupcakes and lavender the same again. Prepare to have all the pretty rainbow and butterfly soaked unicorn dreams completely and irrevocably shattered.

Also Gossamer isn’t quite what he presents himself to be. That won’t surprise a single Rat Queens fan. What will surprise them is learning about Unichlamydia. I wasn’t kidding about shattered unicorn dreams.

Rat Queens Swamp Romp page 8
Rat Queens Swamp Romp page 8

Art & Writing of Rat Queens Swamp Romp

Ferrier pulls double duty writing and lettering Rat Queens Swamp Romp. He pulls it off expertly. The story is fun and engaging, with enough unexpected surprises to please any Rat Queens fan. The pacing is pretty good for a one-shot. The story moves well, and in fact, once you read it, you will find yourself going back to the start because there were hints to what was happening that you can see so clearly after. The lettering enhances the story drawing the eye along, creating a consistently forward motion that rarely overshadows or crowds the beautiful art.

Dee is Stunning (Rat Queens Swamp Romp)
Dee is Stunning (Rat Queens Swamp Romp)

Priscilla Petraites proves that the Queens‘ art is in the best of hands. Our ladies look stunning. Well, except when Vi gets horribly sick but even then she looks great. Petraites casts a spell of fun on this frenetic and absurd adventure. Teaming her artwork with colors by Marco Lesko is pure brilliance.

Lesko’s colors weave a tapestry of many themes in Rat Queens Swamp Romp. His bright interior at the tavern brings life to the Queens’ favorite past time. He turns to green and gray hues for a sickly swamp of gruesomeness and death. His screaming reds splatter the swamp hues with gory shades of violence, and yet Vi’s fever dreams are painted with gentle tones that bespeak serenity and beauty. You can almost smell the cupcakes.

Colorist Lesko and artist Petraites go together like unicorns and rainbows (Rat Queens Swamp Romp)
Colorist Lesko and artist Petraites go together like unicorns and rainbows (Rat Queens Swamp Romp)

Rating: 9 /10 Pull List Material

1 – 2 Stars = Take a Pass

3 – 4 Stars = Give it A Look

5 – 6 Stars = Borrow or Browse

6 – 7 Stars = Buy

8 – 10 Stars = Pull List Material

I’m giving this one a 9 because there are a few things that could have been better. Braga’s face is a bit bland/flat, and being as she is one of my favorite characters, that was a little disappointing. You’ll notice the other ladies have more character facially speaking. Also, there are points lost for destroying all my lovely unicorn dreams. Okay, that’s not true, but there were one or two moments that felt a bit slow. One or two times, the sound effects crowded or drew from the art. There’s not a lot wrong, but it’s not perfect. Rat Queens Swamp Romp did guarantee that the future Rat Queens issues are on my pull list.

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MAJK’s Age Recommendation

Let me be clear, this is a mature comic. I strongly recommend 18+ because any fan of Rat Queens knows there will be a massive number of f-bombs, implied and explicit drug use, a lot of violence, and nudity or partial nudity.

Other Info: Themes this comic touch on bestiality (nothing graphic but it’s hinted at), and some readers might be uncomfortable or offended at the violence done to animals in this comic. Please note that I am basing this one the average mainstream comic reader. Rat Queens fans are rarely average.

Favorite moment

Why: This is so very Hannah.

Next Issue: Rat Queens #16 comes out Jun 16th, 2019

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