They're a pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire and they're in the business of killing all the god's creatures for profit. Meet Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.
This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent, monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!
Kurtis Wiebe is a Stockholm, Sweden based author. The founder and creative director of Vast Vision Studios, he comes from a decade long career in comics and games. He is the co-creator of over ten original comic series and a content creator spanning podcasts, live streams and other digital media. His stories have garnered multiple industry awards including two coveted Shuster’s for best writer.
I've been searching down this book from the local library. One minute they have it..then somehow it disappears, but thanks to my lovely friend Kat I got approved by Netgalley to read this. Yay Kat!
This might not be the graphic novel with the most consistent story-line but you know, sometimes you just don't care. It has ass kicking women characters!! Beating the shit outta bad guys! Fun! and more Fun! and I just really liked it. So there.
I received an arc copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was a little hesitant going into this one, but I needn't have worried because Rat Queens was exactly what I was looking for after finishing Blue Lily, Lily Blue. This graphic novel had me from the start with the name, the logo, and the concept. I really enjoyed the time I spent reading it. There was humor, badassery, lots of adventures, and the commentary was outstanding.
In this volume we follow a group of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they're in the business of killing all god's creatures for profit.
The interactions between them all were incredible (Dee is definitely my favorite). I really hope we’ll get more background on her and the rest of the Rat Queens.
Overall, this was an awesome, addicting graphic novel with phenomenal artwork. I can’t wait to start the next volume!
*Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buyingRat Queens, Vol. 1, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!*
This is such a fun graphic novel series! Rat Queens follows a band of all lady Dungeons and Dragons-type adventurers who fight monsters, make trouble, and frequent the pub. This is going to be a great series for fans of RPGs, as there are so many references to video game and D&D mechanics. It's as if the series is winking and nodding to RPG fans. Even if you aren't an RPG player, this series has so much for everyone. The Rat Queens are a varied band, with women of all sizes, races, and sexualities. They are all quick witted, funny, and unique. I was so excited to learn more of their backstories and see what else this series has to offer.
Unfortunately, I will not be continuing this series after Volume 3 due to choices made by the creative team to welcome back the co-creator (who was arrested for domestic violence), after they had told the female artist that he would not be coming back and that she would be the artist moving forward. It was a shitty mess. If you want to know more about this in detail, this article goes into all of it. Now, as of late 2016, the series is going on a print hiatus and will only be a webcomic for a while. I'm wondering if the backlash caused this series to flounder. Which is such a shame, as it had so much promise and I would have gladly continued if the co-creator did not return.
So while I adore this series, and plan to read those first few volumes, I ultimately know I will not be continuing and can't really recommend it to others based on that. Unless you, like me, go into it knowing the experience is going to end earlier than it should. This review was originally posted on Thoughts on Tomes
It had some really funny moments. I think it has potential to become something great, however I doubt that I will continue with this series. I didn't care about the characters at all. Very action-packed. The art style was not my thing.
"Did you seriously pack candy and drugs for dinner?"
This was amazing. I'm seriously over the moon on how many feminist graphic novels are being published nowadays.
You'd better not call it feminist, Carmen, you'll scare people off.
Oh, okay. How about carnage, creative swearing, drugs, sex, and squid gods? Does that sound better? You can easily read this and never think about feminist theory if you don't want to. Happy now?
As I was saying, this is definitely NOT for kids. I mean, I know most people have gotten the memo by now, but "comic" no longer equals "for kids." Capisce? Really bad language is used. Gore is everywhere, and sex is implied/discussed. ...
Hannah, Violet, Dee Dee and Betty are adventurers in an adventurers' gang called The Rat Queens. They go on quests, kill bad things, get drunk a lot, get in bar brawls, etc. etc. so on and so forth.
One of the book's biggest strengths is the variety shown here in regards to the MCs.
We have: different body types (skinny, chubby, big breasts, tiny breasts, huge thighs, skinny thighs, big ass, no ass). This is super amazing. All the women are attractive, but all are very different and have different body shapes and sizes. (Men are not exempt from this, we have all body types on them as well. Which is a huge plus.)
:Different "races": and no, I'm not talking about elves, dwarves, smidgens, etc. I mean we have black people, white people, Asian people, etc. etc. etc. And tons of interracial dating/relationships. Awesome.
: Different personalities and abilities: Still reeling from how layered and surprisingly complex all these characters are. You think you've got one of the Rat Queens figured out and then she does something completely surprising.
: Different sexual orientations: Hannah and Violet like men, Betty likes women. This is all portrayed in a casual, easy, fun and sexy way that I love. Which is becoming more and more common, to my infinite happiness.
So you can see what a veritable treasure trove this book is, I loved it.
Tl;dr - I highly recommend this to anyone, this is an excellent volume - full of spells, battles, and assassins, orcs, trolls, goblins,.... Super-fun. I can't wait to get my hands on Volume Two and see what happens to our heroines!
Not available in Spanish.
P.S. Oh, and my favorite is Violet, the redhead. She wants to have sex with Orc Dave, I want to have sex with Orc Dave... you can see why I like her. ;) And I love her battle cries.
P.P.S. LIST OF MEN CARMEN WANTS TO HAVE SEX WITH FROM THIS BOOK:
LOL Orc Dave was just melting my heart. <3 Actually there were a lot of men I wanted to have sex with in this book. Perhaps I should make a list: Orc Dave The other three Daves Sawyer Silver Barrie Blackforge
I did not much care for plot and characters during the book's first half. A bunch of young female fantasy characters designed by male creators to be perceived as emancipated based on their cooler-than-thou attitudes and on their ability to commit "manly" acts of senseless violence, I thought. Not my kind of feminism.
In the book's second half, however, the female protagonists are further developed and become much more likable and engaging, a shift in tone that also opens up new opportunities for more subtle, character-based humor. Some of the fantasy tropes, especially the extended fight scenes, are still not really my thing, but they are executed competently enough.
What I appreciate most about the series, though, is its attempt to create a less "epic" and symbolically meaningful, more tangible, character-based, often touching and funny fantasy world. Not that there is anything wrong with epic landscapes and symbolic significance, but after five Lord of the Rings / Hobbit movies and countless imitators, this is a welcome change of pace.
Gah, I dunno internet. I know y'all love this book but blech, it just did not sit well with me. I don't even know what exactly I'm looking for from a book with an all-female cast that kicks a lot of violent tail -- I mean, it's one thing when a book like Danger Girl is out there demonstrating what gratuitous fanboy cheesecake is really all about, and lord knows that even a book like Tank Girl (which I think is pretty rad) has totally questionable ethics and motives. And you know, the Rat Queens drink and swear and fight and have totally Bechdel-test-passing conversations with each other for total whole issues, and that is just freaking great. (Plus they're not called the Rat Girls, and that alone is a step in the right direction.)
It's just that I don't buy any of this as genuine, and I don't quite know how to adequately articulate it for you, internet. I'm painfully aware on each page that this is a dude writing female characters, and it kind of seems like he's just doing it to give the book a niche. It feels false. The Rat Queens are funny and strong and gross and boorish and none of it makes me think, "Yeah! Cuz girls can be funny and strong and gross and boorish too!" which is clearly what they're going for.
Instead, it makes me think "Jesus, this book is trying really hard to say 'hey, girls can be funny and strong and gross and boorish, which are traits you typically associate with male characters, so these ladies are therefore totally worth your respect, bro, because they're basically dudes with boobs!'"
Which is not to say that I'm knocking the idea of violent, beer-swilling, crotch-grabbing female characters. I told you -- I fucking LOVE Tank Girl, bro. But it's all about how it's handled.
Here, it feels like when my male students try to approach issues of representation in pop culture by writing papers about how "women can be just as good as men," instead of proving something about the agency and validity of a gender unto itself, separate of the binary. It feels like the book can't trust me enough to think the main female warrior character is a badass -- it has to let me know that she's capable of growing a beard if she wants.
Because you know. She's a dude, but with boobs.
But I dunno. I gave it to my girlfriend to read. Maybe she'll see something in it that I don't. Maybe these are characters that female readers really can respond to, and I don't know jack shit. That's totally fine. I don't need to win this one, internet.
But for me, I just feel like it's trying way too hard to pander, and ends up moving backward.
Well you know what? I'm in love. With all four of them.
Coolest mercenaries ever. Why? They're mayhem-inducing badasses. I don't care if there isn't much of a plot here. I wouldn't even care if there was no plot at all. Wherever these Queens go, I want to tag along.
Damsels in distress begone! These girls will kick the knight in shining armour's ass in less time than it takes to blink.
A typical day in the life of a Rat Queen usually involves: ✔ Killing anything for profit ✔ Drinking lots of booze ✔ Slaughtering things around ✔ Cursing profusely ✔ Getting arrested repeatedly ✔ Destroying property ✔ Going on quests ✔ Trying to hook up with girls/guys/orcs/whatever ✔ Getting all bloodied up ✔ Being generally epic
One of the coolest things about this comic? Diversity. ► Hannah is a white Elven Mage with a rockabilly haircut (who happens to love conjuring "little fuck you's"). ► Betty is a lesbian Smidgen who loves candy, drugs and mixing cocktails. ► Violet is a red-haired, stocky Dwarven Fighter who shaves her beard to make a statement (whatever that statement may be). ► Dee is a socially awkward, curvy, black Atheist Cleric whose parents happen to worship a giant flying squid.
Barbie begone! This ain't no white blondie fantasy world.
Another one of the coolest things about this comic? Humour. And don’t expect cute humour here. It's dark, snarky, aggressive, witty, dry, satirical, mordant and off-colour. I LOVE it.
"Shut the fuck up, Gary!" Hahahahaha!
A word of advice: if you like fluffy bunnies, cute kitties and rainbows, this might not be an ideal read for you. And if you don't like violence and are easily offended then you might want to consider running away from this comic. As fast as you can.
Now if you're a sucker for badass chicks, gruesome battles and offensive humour, this one's for you. READ IT NOW.
It's commendable that two men, one writer and one illustrator, have set aside their shallow teenage perversions to create a complex narrative with dynamic characters who run from place to place killing things and indulging in near-fatal bouts of homoerotic viking hedonism. Much like Thor, but without all that “fluffy” mythology and altruism. Populating this story are naked women who only know how to joke about dicks, drinking, and getting high, which of course provides valuable life lessons, an empowering story, and admirable role models for teenage women.
"Why is it wherever there's a Rat Queen, someone gets assaulted or a building gets destroyed?" A concerned citizen
'Cause shit just happens sometimes, that's why.
As punishment for excessive barroom brawling, the Rat Queens are sent to clear some pesky goblins out of a cave. Whoa! Look out, gals! It may be a set-up. But who would want these lovely ladies dead? Whoever it is had better disappear, because the Queens are now out for revenge. Bloody, bloody REVENGE...
This was just a big ball of fun. The Queens are all delightful with their own unique personalities and quirks. The fact that they don't always get along with each other only adds to the merriment. Plus, I love it that there's a mercenary group called The Four Daves.
And now the long wait for the next volume. N'rygoth grant me patience!
Firmly set in the fantasy realm of magic and dragons, our heroines are: Hannah the Elven Mage with Amy Winehouse hair, Violet the Dwarven warrior (who’s shaved her beard off), Dee the human cleric who doesn’t believe in the gods her parents worship, and Betty the Smidgen thief, a teeny tiny girl with the ability to quaff major amounts of beer and ‘shrooms. Together, they are the Rat Queens, a band of mercs who quest hard and play hard!
Except the playing has gotten out of hand lately in the town of Palisade and after a particularly heavy night of drinking and brawling, the Queens and the other mercs are sent on missions that are setups to get them wiped out once and for all. Will the Rat Queens survive and discover who’s behind the arranged assassinations?
D&D, fantasy, and stuff like that generally isn’t my bag - I enjoy Game of Thrones and a few other things like that but I’m not a huge fan of the genre. And here’s the thing about Rat Queens - it’s definitely generic but it’s different because its a character driven story and Kurtis Wiebe has done a marvellous job of writing some of the most likeable and entertaining characters I’ve ever read in fantasy.
They are bitches though - they drink, use drugs, behave callously and exactly like the young people with money they are, and normally that would put me off them. But somewhere around the second or third issue I began to really like these characters in spite of their off-putting behaviour. They are distinctly their own characters with their own voices and personalities and it’s remarkable how quickly and effortlessly Wiebe establishes this. Even though there’s magic and goblins and whatnot, it doesn’t feel like you’re reading a fantasy comic; you’re reading a group of real friends having a laugh and having adventures who happen to be in a fantasy world.
I recently read Jim Zub and Edwin Huang’s Skullkickers which is another fantasy comic and, while it’s not a bad book, I never connected with it and I think that’s because the barbarian and dwarf characters were more or less archetypes rather than unique characters (they didn’t even have names, they were simply “barbarian” and “dwarf”!). Skullkickers has a fantasy framework and the characters are part of that framework; Rat Queens has a fantasy framework but the characters transcend the framework to become something else, something much less generic.
The plotlines work really well and develop interestingly - I love how there are consequences to their actions in the most unexpected ways. While on their main quest, they get sidetracked which plays into later issues where in the one scene when they kill a troll, the troll’s girlfriend shows up later with an orc army to besiege Palisade and avenge her fallen man.
It also feels like a very lived in world that’s very relatable to ours. The magic Dee uses derives from a cult she has left behind but her parents are still in, like most young people with religious upbringings choosing secular lifestyles, while Violet’s fashion choices seem decidedly hipster-ish in a charming, and not annoying, way. Betty’s love troubles are very sweet - hell, her entire character is really sweet and I was rooting for her to get her girl in the end! - as is Hannah’s. Ah, awkward romance!
Roc Upchurch’s (and what a great name!) artwork is really excellent, lots of strong lines and great placement of characters in panels - he’s always doing something interesting with every character - and his comic timing perfectly suits Wiebe’s style (my favourite scene being when “old lady” Bernadette yells “I’m only 39!!!” and Hannah’s response is to stare at her for a moment and then burst out laughing in the next). I know artists hate comparisons but if I said Upchurch’s style is reminiscent of Fiona Staples’, I hope this book’ll get some more attention from the Saga community (for whom this book is really well suited actually)!
This book has a great plot but to be honest by the end I was so invested in the characters, I wouldn’t mind if Wiebe eschewed it in the next book to focus on the everyday lives of the Rat Queens - that’s how well he writes them and how enjoyable they are to read about!
I suppose if you’re a fantasy fan you’ll love Rat Queens but I don’t want to recommend it to a niche audience only as it has enormous wide appeal to readers outside of the genre. It’s got great characters who’re tons of fun, has a great balance in tone between fun and dramatic, it feels strangely contemporary and has great writing and art. Rat Queens is an undeniably awesome comic, guys, check it out!
If you want tales about SUPER FUN bad-ass female heroines, these Rat Queens are beyond Xena. The fantastic violent actions are not for children, but surprisingly I found them light hearted. I've never winced seeing the art of violence of RQ comic books.
If you happened at first read from in the middle of comic book, the arts and setting of this series at the first glance similar with AD&D or other medieval fantasy comic books. It is the characterization that distinguished this series from other fantasy.
If you want stories with females characters that passed The Bechdel Test, these foul-mouthed ladies will kick the test out of their universe and will only talking about men just because they want it. These independent female mercenaries won't let anyone else telling them what to do.
The format of the team seems generic in medieval fantasy plot: one warrior, one priestess, one thief, and one wizard. And of course they are rag-tag team. But they are far from generic. Not only the 4 ladies themselves, but also there are other sympathetic recurring characters. And I think that what made the setting seems full of interesting people. Surprisingly interesting, reminds me of A Song of Ice and Fire but in a less complicated setting.
NOTE: There are so many reviews of this comic book inserting the arts. I admit I paste the arts from other reviews, I don't feel need to add another arts.
Meet the Rat Queens. A mercenary band for hire that puts the sexy back in wholesale slaughter.
Seriously this book was awesome. It has been a while since I've enjoyed myself this much in a comic book, but this one had me laughing out loud and reading snippets to my husband, who enjoyed it as much as I did.
Unless of course you are offended by one of or all of the following: -Strong Females -Offensive Language -Obscene Gestures -Violence -Gore -Sex -Public Drunkenness -Drug Use -Worship of the god N'rygoth
If so then you also may have to explain why you're following my reviews...
I can't stress how much I enjoyed meeting this bunch of mercenaries. Indeed each and every one of them brings something captivating and hilarious to the story :
✔ Dee refuses the so-called God worshipped by her family.
✔ Betty thinks candies and mushrooms are great dinners and shows Sherlock's vibes sometimes.
✔ Violet is ... you know, this girl whose best friend is her sword? Meet Violet.
✔ Hannah is just plain awesomeness. Seriously, I ship this girl like crazy.
Of course there're more to know about them but where's the fun if I tell everything, huh?
Awesome fact #2 : Quests aren't never what they seem!
I can't help but feel that this book can be taken of a parody of all the RPG world and wow I loved that - as Kat pointed it. Actually it reminds me of the audio quest I used to listen when I was a teenager, Les donjons de Naheulbeuk. Yeah, that's French so you probably certainly don't know it. Hmm. Guess that was awkward rec time!
But let's be serious one second : in Rat queen, you'll find plenty of :
✔ Bloody actions ...
✔ ... always wrapped in a blanket of crazy jokes...
✔ ... and there's even a couple to ship!Woohoo!
Aren't they cute? Yeah?
Finally, as my Birthday aka Vday guys is quickly approaching, I'll leave you with Violet :)
As some of you, LadiSean in particular, might know; I VERY recently joined a Dungeons & Dragons adventurer's quest. And as should be of little shock to anyone I chose an Elf as my alter-ego. A druid cleric named “Acaedia” to be exact. I AM LOVING IT!
Rat Queens takes place in a world not all too different from my current world of Dungeons & Dragons, and as such caught my attention and my sqeetastic love right from the get go.
Badass female adventurers?! Where do I sign??
I loved all these ladies so much! And while they are all a bit stereotypical, the story and its inhabitants won themselves a place in this roleplay geek’s heart! ♥
As a complete noob to all of this I am still a little unsure what clan’s all these lovely ladies belong to, it didn’t stop me from enjoying all their quirky and sarcastic voices.
It had some good: -Primarily female characters -Females kicking butt and getting butt kicked. Equality, ftw! -Humor -Adventure, gore, and trolls! -Diversity! -It's got some pretty cute cuteness.
It had some bad: -The four lead women are less women than they are partying Peter Parker, sensible Clark Kent, dwarf Hulk, and bitter Bruce Wayne (see also: TMNT) only with boobs, probably-vaginas, pretty hair, and shapely bodies. -Oh, stereotypes, what would we do without you? -Lots of girl-on-girl hatredy in the name of friendship -Diversity: forced -Storyline: not so original actually. I mean, I've played this before. Lots of times.
I had some neutral observations: -Color is big in this issue. Each Rat Queen has her own color, The Peaches all wore peach, The Obsidian Darkness all wore, yes, black, and the Pony Brothers wore colors that matched the Rat Queen colors. Colorful colory-ness. I can never get my outfits to match like that, not in real life, and not in games, not even if I crawl dungeons hoping to get a full outfit. It never works and I have a hard time believing every party in town could pull that off. -Dungeons, raids, and instances must be 4-man only, thus all the guilds being 4-man groups. And I'm using "man" as placeholder, not as gender, just so you know. Because women were totally not underrepresented here. -Where are their mounts?
So it's fun and cute, it's probably somewhat offensive in its attempt to be pro-woman, pro-diversity, pro-we-love-all-geeks but, hell, A for effort. However, in as far as a series I'm going to get all crazy over? No, not so much. Sorry.
I am crushing real hard on Violet and Hannah,to be honest. Aggressive humor, kick-ass female friendship, ladies who don't give a shit about what others think about them, some pretty cool action scenes and awesome guys too - Sawyer and fucking Orc Dave with his bluebirds of healing. What more do you need? Magic? Well,you can bet your sweet ass there's magic in here too. Realistic body image? You can check that one off the list as well. Different sexual orientations? Hell to the yes. I loved reading this Volume and I am really looking forward to the next one. More sass and more info about the characters and their history!
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 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 adventuring ladies. These women are unapologetically perfect. They are crude and violent, sexual and in command, vulnerable and honest, and wonderfully loyal to each other. 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 in 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 involved). 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 because of an endearing back story that I could personally appreciate.
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 storyline, but there are other 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 heroic 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.
Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery takes place in the small town of Palisade and is a humourous tale of monster-slaying mercenary gangs, involving mostly violence and killing and drinking booze. Lots of booze. And lots of violence too.
The main characters are Hannah the Elven mage, Violet the Dwarven fighter, Dee the Human cleric and Betty the Goblin thief. Together they form the merry band known as the Rat Queens, and spend their time fighting monsters in the outskirts of the town and getting drunk in the local tavern. But suddenly a mysterious killer starts targeting the mercenary gangs of Palisade...
While this was not exactly a literary masterpiece, I must say I liked it a lot. Both the characters and the plot were hopelessly one-dimensional and there was nothing complex about this at all. But it's a comic, after all! I jumped into it expecting only great entertainment for a Sunday night, and I got what I wanted. This was an awesome break from the epic fantasy I usually read, and one of the more enjoyable comics I've read lately. Recommended to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy and comics.
Finally, good D&D with an all girl band and fantastic writing. It has all the classics, mixing in blackmail, selling drugs, puke till you drop antics, and sex with men named Dave.
Oh, and the art is great, too. No complaints. The dwarf chick is HOT. And the best part is, it's not all big boobs and unrealistic women, either. They know their own minds, and don't mind letting the black flying squid take over their minds when the situation really calls for it.
Reading for the Hugo 2015 Graphic Novel nominations. It's definitely damn good. I'm going to have a hard time choosing between Saga, Ms. Marvel, and this one. I'm going to have to drop Sex Criminals of my favorites for the award, no matter how good it is.
It's a matter of pride that I'll be following each of these comics closely as they come out. They're all really special.
Second reading impressions: really charming and funny post-modern take on Dungeons & Dragons cliches, and a nuanced and welcome portrayal of not-terribly heroic people trying their second-best. Damn if I don't love this opening volume.
First reading review:
These are definitely not your "hot chicks in leather" fantasy tropes. These women are just good, rich characters with interesting hinted-at back stories, foul mouths and normal adult foibles. (See honey? I used another big word!)
This writing isn't nearly bust-a-gut laugh-a-minute funny, but it's fun with an occasionally great joke, and characters who I quickly wanted to see survive and succeed against the assholes and monsters.
Flawed characters are so much more fun than DC "gods" or super-heroic international spies. I love, not like, the crazies who overcome their own weaknesses and still find a way to throw some insults and sarcasm the way of the dicks of their universe. Like the necromancing elf - disguises herself as the town's Captain of the Guard when she decides that the order are conspiring to get the Rat Queens killed. She's full of vim and spittle, not a ton of admirable honour, but will go toe-to-pointy boot with anybody who messes with her gang of mercenaries.
That's the spirit I like to see - especially in that there's a random but hardly excessive assortment of reminders that these toughs are also female - mentions of tits without sexuality, occasional flings after heated battle, and some great costumes that are neither shapeless sacks nor Miss Universe pageantwear.
My second-favourite scenes are with the appearance of the Four Daves - and especially Orc Dave who has a slightly embarrassing beard-related side-effect whenever he uses his healing powers. Makes me think of Anne's comments related to the fourth child and sneezing, in my own special way.
This book is immersed in the swords-and-sorcery scene so deeply that it's just woven into the fabric of scenes & conversation - there's no lame jokes at the expense of the characters, not is there a lot of mansplaining over who can do what, identifies as which Class or Race, and whether anyone has a +3 of anything (though the end-of-issues captions still nudge at those tubby shards).
The art's neither realism nor wispy art-school nonsense - it's fluid, expressive and still makes sense in telling the story that's beyond the words.
I came to this book expecting lighthearted plot with a lot of rip-roaring jokeifying. I came away from it finding something approaching depth (some not-so-humourous back stories, for example) and a good balance of fun and actual storytelling. I'll be back for more, and this time I'll feel invested in these women's plight.
I should be old enough to know not to judge a book by it's cover, but occasionally it still happens. The cover to Rat Queens seems like a nice story for anyone interested in seeing young women as heroes in a fantasy setting. That's not what this story is at all. These young women are binge drinking, bar fighting, drug taking, property destroying, blood drawing, and hard fighting ladies.
Anyone looking for something appropriate for a pg-13 crowd must look elsewhere.
Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery is not for the faint of heart. Fortunately I was well aware of that before reading otherwise I would've been shocked. There is no political correctness here. The volume is pretty funny to me in goofy way, but I could easily see that it wouldn't work for everyone.