Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery
I mentioned this in our podcast about this comic series and I wanted to take a moment to give you a much longer dedicated review.
Because frankly this series deserves it.
Rat Queens is a deceptively ground-breaking series, if you are used to reading comics or even used to the fantasy tropes commonly found in the fandom. This brave adventuring crew of four ladies is all original in their own ways. They fit into their ‘class” but are far from a stereotype which makes me immensely happy. What I mean is they are the D&D “class” (Warrior, Sorcerer/Wizard / Priest etc.) but you won’t see them coming and going. Well it’s best to see for your selves.
Here are the leading ladies themselves:
Hannah your Rockabilly, occasionally dark, magic casting Elf:
Dee the atheist Priestess/ healer of a Cthulhu like god…yes family relations are very strange…
Violet, a hipster Dwarf who cut off her beard to buck the system (and looks down her nose as it’s now the ‘in’ thing to do. After all ‘I did it first when it had real meaning…’).
And Betty the lock wearing, drug using, alcohol and lady lovin’ Smidgen (D&D terms: Halfling) thief. It’s dangerous to accept drinks from her as you’re not sure what’s in it. She also appears to have a perpetual state of the ‘munchies.’
Just looking at the cast alone can tell you worlds about what’s contained within the pages. Violence and gore,
(Cussing) and humor.
A strange combination of the four…
Lord of the Rings this is not. While there is magic, fighters, dwarfs and elves it is high fantasy with a serious gritty undertone that one cannot fudge and say that they are PG-13. No, my friends, this series is not child appropriate. Drug use, sex, excessive gore…I would not be handing this to anyone under 17, personally.
The art is lovely and character designs are beautiful. I especially love that each woman is built differently rather than depending on hair color and accessories to tell you who’s who. The painterly manner of coloring works extremely well with the subject manner. If you are an adult that likes to watch some amazing ladies kick butt in a beautiful setting this is the series for you. As a woman myself I LOVE that not only are each unique, they are ‘females’ and not men with boobs or the other end of ‘super girly and oops I happen to swing a mean sword! Oh no! my boob armor fell off!!’ They wear clothes appropriate for them and guess what???
I didn’t miss the stupid bikini armor.
And every gentlemen I’ve let read it to date hasn’t either, FYI. Why? Because they where too fascinated by the story and character’s themselves.
*looks at main stream comic creators*
It can be done. I promise.
But I digress.
I can say that watching their sisterhood and learning about their pasts, what makes them who they are…is fascinating and relate-able. You come in and they are an established group, which is a wise choice when writing such a thing. The hows and the whys become a bit boring unless the action events are what’s driving the group together. In this case the group is together and through the course of the story they drop hints about their pasts through visits, ‘phone’ calls and memories that make you curious for more. Their interaction with the world around them is just as fun to watch as their interactions with other people. They protect and love each other fiercely and watching everything they go through it’s a small wonder they’ve gotten so close. The comradely they have earned the way they accept each other’s quirks and differences is so well realized both in writing and visual rendering that sometimes I had to stop as I had flash backs to events and people in my own life. Capturing such moments is a gift that Kurtis J. Wiebe writes could be a daunting task but Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Šejić , and now Tess Fowler does so very well. The art, the story, the characters…I’m in love.
If this sounds interesting, I say you will not be disappointed in checking this series out.