Written by: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Art by: Tess Fowler
Published by: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Image Comics’ new one-shot, “Rat Queens Special: Braga #1”, shines a new light on Braga that, at first glance, doesn’t seem like a character with such a compelling backstory. This medieval/ fantasy story is a different taste then what I’m used to from comics, and I was drawn into this story.
Braga #1 is an interesting origin story to a secondary character in the Rat Queen series. Being someone who is not as familiar with the mythology of Rat Queens, this book pulled me in. Flipping to the first page, I was not expecting to see a female orc in a pink bathrobe sporting a cat following her around. Braga took me by surprise, and then did it again when she started narrating her tale, finding out Braga used to be a prince – Broog – who was destined to become the leader of her people.
Braga’s past is a bloody one. Opening up on a battlefield, accompanied by her old friend Kiruk, preparing to lead an army of orcs to a battle. They proceed to battle with a rival tribe, winning the bloody fight in the end, allowing few to escape.
Braga’s father had planned for her to take over his place as “chieftain” of their orc tribe, but Braga and her father disagree on following their old “orcish traditions”. Her father tries to force the rule over to Braga, but she turns him down when he tells her the terms he made on making a truce with the people they are at war with. Braga seeks out Kiruk, and the two plan on leaving the tribe and run away together.
There’s something about a competitive younger brother element that just draws to peoples attention I find. I’ve seen it in a few cases, such as Thor and Loki, and I saw it again here. Braga’s younger brother, Voon, decides to try and take the throne for himself after talking to his father about Braga’s betrayal. Voon ends up finding Braga and Kiruk, killing Kiruk and cutting out Braga’s eye before she takes down her brother. It was a tragic scene watching Kiruk be killed in front of Braga, and the bloodbath that followed as she tore through her brother’s ranks, then proceeds to cut of his arm and knock him out. Braga ends up banished from the tribe and is branded as “a bastard”.
This origin story drew me in with back story. I found the part that I enjoyed the most was how writer Kurtis Wiebe didn’t write in a little anecdote or put any explanation in the story of how Braga is transsexual. The story was beautifully handled without having to put a label on Braga, but just told a story of how she didn’t fit in with the people in her past.
Rat Queens Special: Braga is a great origin story for a secondary character in the larger Rat Queens series. The issue is packed with orc bloodshed, but also a beautiful fantasy story. This issue would be great for any Rat Queens fan, or even a newcomer like myself to this realm of fantasy.
“Rat Queens Special: Braga #1” earns 9/10