Comic Stack 05/06/15: Rat Queens, Vol. 1 & Vol 2 by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Today’s comic stack actually features a review for a graphic novel I’ve been eagerly awaiting. I hadn’t expected to be able to pick it up until today, but I was able to snag it Sunday night digitally on Netgalley to read and review! I still have every intention of buying the physical copy for my shelves, though. I never posted an official review of the first edition of this book, so I’ll backtrack a little and post two Rat Queens reviews in one today.
Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe (writer), Roc Upchurch (artist)
Publisher: Image Comics (March 26 2014)
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy, Leading Ladies
I actually finished this book while waiting in line for a WWE wrestling event back in October for my son’s birthday. No one even blinked at me standing in line reading a comic book. In fact, many curiously sauntered my way and asked about it, which led to many turbonerd discussions about comics while waiting. Yes, we’re big wrestling nerds in this house. And for the idiots who like to ask, “You know it’s fake, right?” I have to ask if you know that most of your favorite television shows are probably fake, too, right? Okay, just checking.
Wendy was sweet enough to send this to me on my birthday, which incidentally is the exact same day this volume was released. Sass and Sorcery introduces us to a rockabilly elf named Hannah, a candy-loving hipster smidgen thief named Betty, Dee the atheist who happens to also be a cleric (and struggles with her religion), and Violet, a dwarven lady warrior who says “fuck tradition” and keeps shaving her bad ass beard off. Together they form the all-female mercenary group the Rat Queens.
They spend their days drinking, brawling, sexing, and causing general mayhem along with other rival mercenary groups who plague the city of Palisades. Now, someone in the Palisade wants them (and the other mercenary groups gone, but especially the Rat Queens), which leads them on an adventure full of mayhem that’ll never stop making the readers chuckle.
This is such a great twist on the fantasy genre. They’ve blended some modern ideas into an old story. I love that this book follows a group of female giving them all the characteristics one would find “lovable” in a group of mercenary men, but everyone sort of scoffs at in women. Do you think they give a damn, though? Heck no. These ladies kick ass, and do exactly what–and who–they want. This was a fun introduction to a group of awesome women.
Don’t be a Gary.
Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe (writer), Roc Upchurch (artist), Stjepan Sejic (artist)
Publisher: Image Comics (May 6, 2015)
Genre: Fantasy, Leading Ladies
Following the events of the first book, the women are now seen as heroes and the overlords of Palisades\ would like to keep it that way through–what else–throwing large sums of money at them for their help. However, there is still a menace lurking in Palisade and Dee’s religious and personal life catches up to her in this latest volume as they once again find themselves being the good guys. First, let me say: T E N T A C L E S! YES!
This book delved a little more into the personal lives of the Queens, specifically Violet, Dee, and Hannah. I’m starting to think that Betty just fell from a happy pagan tree screaming, “Give me candy!” and there’s not a thing more to her than that (right now). I still love her, though. She’s double comedy relief, and I imagine her to be a female Ryback. FEED ME! FEED ME MORE! (Wrestling joke. Leave me alone, okay.)
Hannah’s story still left so much mystery to her character while being telling all at the same time. I really look forward to reading more about her, especially after she revealed a piece of herself that she never meant to because of the implications that doing so would mean something monumental in terms of that particular relationship, and she showed how vulnerable and scared doing so made her. There was just the right amount of telling and pulling back with Hannah.
I was really glad to know a little more about Dee’s religious background as well as her personal background. In the last book while everyone else was getting their freak on Dee shied away from any interest shown in her, and you sort of find out why that is in this book. She also struggles more with her faith and what she believes before deciding what’s truly right for her as far as her faith goes.
Violet’s personal story left me a little on the fence. On one hand, I thought it was really great, but on another hand, bits of it felt more shallow than I was expecting from her story. No, shallow isn’t the right word. It’s was more like they condensed it so much that some of the important bits felt missing like, as a reader, I could feel something more was going on there, but then, it managed to move on to parts that felt smaller than what they were really trying to get across with Violet. I still enjoyed it, though. Especially this scene where Vi asked another lady dwarf why she shaved her beard:
Also, I have to end this with Gary because nobody wants to be Gary.
I still love you, Gary, please, don’t be a Gary.