Review: Rat Queens Vol. 1, Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch, 128 pages, Image Comics, 2014. Buy it on Amazon.
Have you ever read a comic book so great that you had to stop a few pages in just to tell people about how good it was?
Would you like to?
Rat Queens is exactly that and so, so much more. It’s the funniest, sassiest, most feminist and fun book I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a fucking dream come true.
Rat Queens follows Hannah, Violet, Dee, and Betty. The back of the book promises it to be “Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack” and while that’s not exactly what I would have gone with, it works. These four ladies–the Rat Queens adventuring group–smash through every dumb trope for adventuring novels and D&D campaigns that I’ve ever had to suffer through as a woman nerd.
Want badass women? Diverse body types? Women that aren’t hypersexualized? Characters of color? Queer characters? Check, check, check, check, check.
Want gore? Laugh-out-loud fun and wit? Good fights, good panel division, vibrant color, gorgeous character design, sass and swearing like sailors? Check, check, check, check…you get the picture.
This book has female characters that are actually in control of their sexuality, rather than puppets of an artist who never learned how to realistically draw boobs or a writer who never learned how women actually talk. It has casually queer characters and WoC (women of color) who aren’t token minorities. It has quiet commentary on religious indoctrination, relationships, government, gender norms and teamwork.
Words cannot actually properly explain how happy this comic makes me. I want to tell you how much it means to me to see kickass women kicking ass unapologetically and with amazing style and grace. I want to tell you how amazing it is to see these characters who are so complex and developed and beautiful and strong.
All I can do, however, is tell you that I don’t know if I’ve ever loved a book and set of characters so strongly so quickly.
P.S. This comic has inspired another SDCC cosplay to bloom into existence.
P.S.S. If you don’t like gore or swearing or references to drugs and sex, just skip this. You probably shouldn’t read anything by Image Comics, but definitely not this.