Review: Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When you’re looking for an afternoon of ribald violence featuring sharp-dressed ladies, Rat Queens is the comic for you!
Abandon all illusions you may have of comics/graphic novels as being the province of children, or any idea that a female character must act like a “proper lady,” because Rat Queens goes out of its way to demolish both concepts. In addition to featuring Dungeons & Dragons-style questing and violence, Rat Queens is rife with drunken, foul-mouthed, wantonly sexual storylines and images. It’s delightful because of that, of course, because there just aren’t a lot of books at all that would allow every female character in their book to have some kind of vice, but it also suffers because it sometimes feels like it’s pushing it a little too far.
The art is genuinely great. I love that the characters are each so different, so fab, and so feminine, with so much diversity. I love that they have big hips and broad shoulders and that I believe they could really heft a sword. Rat Queens highlights the many stereotypes we see again and again and again in other art by just being different. It’s beautiful.
I’m a little bit of a terrible comic book fan, because I really prefer to read them as complete volumes, like this one, even though such volume would never exist if someone didn’t buy the weekly trades. But I dramatically enjoy buying a thing just once and getting to follow the complete flow of a storyline. Weekly trades just don’t do it for me.
That said, even as a collection, Rat Queens is unusually abrupt, lacking much transition between characters and leaving me frequently wondering if my pages were stuck together or something (they weren’t. It just does that). You’ll be following one character when boom, we’re with someone else, doing something else, with nary a “Back at the Batcave” to warn you.
Overall, Rat Queens was a fun light afternoon read. I don’t know if I would buy more of it, but I would absolutely borrow it from a library/bum it off my more comic-inclined friend.

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