TITLE: Rat Queens, Volume One: Sass and Sorcery
AUTHOR: Kurtis J. Wiebe
ILLUSTRATOR: Roc Upchurch
SUMMARY: In a magical world rulers hire bad-ass women to fight off monsters until someone hires assassins to kill the Rat Queens.
WARNING: There’s sex, graphic violence, lots of cursing, and lots of “bad” behavior. Proceed with caution!
This is one of those rare times where I pick up a book and give it a second try. The first time I picked up this graphic novel, I couldn’t get into the world or story. This is a general problem I have with any sci-fi or fantasy book. I can’t be thrust into a world, I need to be eased into it, otherwise I feel lost and give up quickly. This time around, I pushed through the intro and kept reading and for the most part I’m glad I did.
From what I gathered the Rat Queens’ lives revolve around killing monsters, getting drunk, getting high off mushrooms, and curse a lot. Essentially everything your parents ever tried to shelter you away from is in this one volume. Normally, I don’t mind (after all I watch TWD and GOT), but all these things get in the way of the story. I think it’s so focused on the action parts that it forgets to weave a story. It feels underdeveloped.
On the other hand, I have to give them props because it’s women who are in charge and no one questions them without valid reasons. I think that’s great! What’s not so great is that you have these great powerful women wearing skimpy clothing and stilettos fighting off goblins. I’m sure that’s not that comfortable for them to do, but at least it looks good right?
So, yes I am conflicted about this.
As for the writing and art style, I’m not a fan of either. The writing isn’t that great but there’s not a lot of it because of all the action that takes place, making it a fast read. The art style is more graphic than I wished it would be, which is weird for me because blood and gore usually doesn’t bother me. (I always feel weird criticizing art work in graphic novels because I know how hard people work on it and I feel bad saying it’s bad).
Not everything is horrible though. For one, the characters are all extremely diverse even within a fantasy world. The characters vary in races, sexualities, species, and perhaps gender (there’s one character who’s a girl and has a beard). What’s even better is that no one gives them a hard time for being any of these things. They just are, and I think that’s really well done.
I’m definitely ready to give the following volumes a try.