Graphic Novel Review: Rat Queens Vol.1: Sass and Sorcery

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & SorceryRat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

Genre: Fantasy, Gaming

Series: Rat Queens #1-5

Publisher: Image Comics

Publication Date: April 8, 2014

Wendy’s Rating: 5 of 5 stars: Drop whatever pre-conceived notions you might have over RPG adventurers. These women are unapologetically perfect in their blazing imperfections.

And a copy for you and a copy for you… I swear if I had the money, I would be flinging copies of Rat Queens at eeeeeverybody. As it stands, only a few of my precious babies will be getting an Amazon mailbox surprise soon, and I’d already pre-ordered my own copy from my not-so-local comic book story. But thankfully, NetGalley let me partake of this glory early in exchange for an honest review, which basically goes like this:

Why the hell aren’t you reading Rat Queens already? #FLAIL

But seriously. You do not really have to be a roleplaying game fan to appreciate the Rat Queens, though it probably helps quite a bit to understand how the characters fit into the basic roles of a team of adventurers. There’s Dee Dee the human cleric, Hannah the elven sorceress, Betty the smidgen rogue, and Violet the dwarven warrior. Beyond that, drop whatever pre-conceived notions you might have over RPG adventurers. These women are unapologetically perfect in their blazing imperfections. They are crude and violent, sexual and in command, vulnerable and honest, and wonderfully loyal to each other and those they deem worthy. Some might find the Rat Queens over the top, believing them to be the product of a man trying too hard to write liberated females, but ending up with stereotypical male characters with boobs. I will politely disagree with such an opinion. These ladies are the epitome of femininity in all its glorious parts, beginning with Roch Upchurch’s depiction of characters with real body types. They are all kinds of sexy in both attitude and appearance.

But they aren’t just about the bar brawls, sex, drugs and mercenary work. Wiebe carefully weaves in little bits and pieces of their personal lives and really rounds out the characters and all of their various relationships outside of the group. Within the group, the design of their friendship and loyalty is subtle, but clear. There is certainly conflict, but at the end of the day, they would each take a bullet for the other (if there actually were bullets). Dee especially surprises as the divine magic user who doesn’t believe in the divine she was raised on. She doesn’t get her moment in the spotlight until the last issue of the volume, but once it occurs, she became an instant favourite for me because of an endearing back story and touching moments that I could personally appreciate. (See mom? That’s how you handle that sort of thing…)

When we first meet the Queens, they are making a mess of the city they claim to be protecting and, along with several other amusing groups of mercenaries, they are sent out on various quests. The questing is typical RPG fodder – until they all walk into an elaborate trap. The mystery of who arranged for the assassination of all these mercs becomes the many plot, but there are other delectable threads teasing along the edges.

Wiebe’s wit is so very on point throughout. The dialogue is knife edge sharp and funny, even when Violet is failing miserably at the intimidating one liners. I love the way the story mocks itself as much as the various mediums it targets. It walks the fine edge of satire without going overboard and becoming preachy, allowing it to be simply a hilarious, fun read that I am dying to get more of.

4 Comments on “Graphic Novel Review: Rat Queens Vol.1: Sass and Sorcery”

  1. Pingback: PANELS: Rat Queens vol.1: Sass and Sorcery | The BiblioSanctum

  2. Pingback: Sunday Musings: Cottage Life, Comics and Violence | The BiblioSanctum

  3. Pingback: Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery (Vol 1) by Kurtis J. Wiebe – Review

  4. Pingback: Wendy: Best of 2014 | The BiblioSanctum

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