Comic Book Review: Rat Queens Special: Orc Dave #1 (One-Shot)


When the Rat Queens came back and Fiona Staples teased the cover to this one shot, this Rat Queens Special instantly became a must read and most anticipated. The last special we got out of Rat Queens dove into the story of Braga, so it only made sense that we could take a step further to get into another side character that is a favorite. Orc Dave without a doubt is a character that we have wanted to see more of. He has gone through some stuff, he’s working through some stuff, and you just want to see the big guy happy again. Luckily this one shot gives us the opportunity to transport back to a time when he was at peace.

Now while I’m sure that some readers would have wanted to see more of Orc Dave currently, a trip through his past is how we better get to know him. Who wouldn’t be interested to see where someone like Orc Dave came from. I mean who would leave a life like what he probably he to become an adventurer? His story was like getting to know him all over again. What I enjoyed off the bat was how the relationship with his father contrasts from the others we have followed up to this point. They have an engaging dynamic for their perspective on nature and their responsibility as what I assume is Druids. That was where we could come to understand how there are vile, evil monsters that stalk their land. A lot of things begin to make sense as the plot unfolded and Dave could be seen struggling with a duty that seems well out of character for him. If you told someone that this was his life before Palisade and the Four Daves, it would be hard to believe because he is too gentle. It was a sad story that makes you miss the heart that he has to offer.

With that said, what you also looked forward to from this special is how Dave first encounters the Rat Queens. That was the highlight of this issue for the fact that he ran into them in the only way you possibly could. Their shenanigans never get old, and it was good to see that they went back that far.

By the end of the issue it was easy to see what may have set Dave on the path to Palisade and the Four Daves. It was only unfortunate that the issue ended with a big twist that leaves you begging for an answer. Part of me felt disappointed for having to feel that, but at the same time I do hold out hope that Kurtis Wiebe like always will bring things full circle. If there’s one thing you can expect, it is that every little thing matters in the longrun.

The story of Dave was moving, but it was the art team that visually engaged you from start to finish. From the first page I was drawn in through the artwork because of how lively this turned out. Particularly when speaking of The Green Wilds. This was the first time when reading Rat Queens that I felt so captivated by the setting. This was a unique setting they created that made what could have looked like any other forest look fantastical. Everything from the stone structures to the way that the trees wrap around it all looked stunning. The aim is always to make a place like this look like none other and they succeeded. I really enjoyed Tamra Bonvillain’s colors here. Especially when it came to the natural colors and the effect that sunlight had on the hue. She used just the right amount of color that could make this both look grounded and extraordinary. Too much color probably would have killed any personal moment had. It goes without saying that Max Dunbar’s best work came from the eyes. When you have two characters whose mouths are covered by beards, it makes all the difference to be able to sell the emotion, reactions and expressions through simple gestures. Never underestimate what can be done with the right movements in the eyebrows.

Rat Queens Special: Orc Dave #1 leaves you wanting more Dave. Hopefully this is a point to make the statement that he is still there and we will get around to rescuing Dave from the hole he has found himself in. This story had heart, and it is as genuine as you can get when other characters wish they had this kind of connection with a family member.

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