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Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery Paperback – April 8, 2014
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The Rat Queens are a tough, insouciant gang of ne’er-do-well girls (they’re certainly not ladies) who love a good bar brawl. When they are assigned a mission as punishment for their latest recklessness by the mayor of Palisade and it turns out to be a trap, Hannah, Violet, Dee, and Betty come back to the town to figure out who has it in for them and the other local fighting gangs. And if they have to beat up a few people and monsters to do it, then that’s just fine by them. Wiebe and Upchurch offer readers three-dimensional female characters with varying body types, races, sexual orientations, and backstories, while also including all the intriguing side characters, crude language, drug use, magic, violence, and sarcasm that a humorous, adult action-fantasy volume should have. Upchurch’s art has beautiful depth, and his panels glow with life. Offer this to readers tired of the same old comics featuring cheesecake depictions of female characters or to readers who like intelligent plots with a side of smart aleck. --Snow Wildsmith
- If you're looking for an M-rated series that is full of swordplay, sorcery, and sass, and you don't mind a bit of gore thrown in for good measure, you'll love this. Betty, Dee, Hannah, and Violet are mercenaries for hire who can drink a troll under the table, use language that would make an orc blush, and mercilessly eviscerate baddies. Off on a minor "quest" in order to make up for their drunken brawling, this kick-ass quartet soon realizes that someone or something wants them very dead. Making them dead, however, is far easier said than done. It's not just the fantastic pacing of Wiebe's (Peter Panzerfaust, Debris) text or former video game designer Upchurch's blood-sprayed action sequences, but also the characters themselves that drive the story relentlessly forward. Possessed of very different body types, personalities, and idiosyncrasies, and not afraid to share exactly what they're feeling, the Rat Queens are refreshing characters whose story will leave readers thirsty for more. (June) -PublisherWeekly.com
- "Offer this to readers tired of the same old comics featuring cheesecake depictions of female characters or to readers who like intelligent plots with a side of smart aleck." -Booklist
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Top Customer Reviews
What can I say? When you buy a hardcover of material you own already by a high percentage you have some expectations. The first disappointment for me was that the collection does not contain all of the stories from the available-only-virtually preview. Especially one of my favorite short stories, where what seems to be a fierce battle is just a big Rat Queens hangover, is missed sorely.
The second point I have is that the structure of the stories is not well presented. The editors decided to reprint each 5 issue story line without chapters with the covers at the end and no signs where a single issue ends and the next one begins. This does not work for me. A cliffhanger is an important stylistic device in comics and when the story just continues this takes rhythm out of the tale. I would have reprinted the original covers between the chapters and only the alternates at the end.
My third issue is that there is no introduction or preliminary remarks to the book. You learn nothing why the co-creator Upchurch had to leave the series. Especially with a series that has caused so much web discussions about diversity and women in comics it would have been appropriate to learn some background about the series and its creators. The Braga special does not make me confident that new peniciller Tess Fowler will be up to the task to follow the big footsteps of Upchurch and Sejic.
All in all: One of the best series of the last decade, but you might prefer to buy the much cheaper trade paperbacks.
Well, the bottom line is that this is the first sword-and-sorcery action comic collection I've seen, ever, that is really and truly funny. The four Rat Queens, a band of maiden mercenaries, are, more or less: 1) Dee, a reformed squid cult member, 2) Hannah, conjurer and the daughter of a twisted pair of necromancers, 3) Betty, who acts like an airhead party girl, and 4) Violet, who uses her sword ironically.
Early on the four are sprung from jail, in which they've been held because of excessive brawling and troublemaking, and sent away to clean out a goblin cave. On the way the Queens get very upset with Betty when they find out that all she has packed in the food bag is candy and drugs. That sort of gives you an idea of this series' vibe.
That said, the real plot is that someone is trying to wipe out all of the mercenary bands in town, including the Rat Queens. It's time for them to take matters into their own hands. Actually, it's always that time. The rest of the story, (no SPOILERS here), is all mayhem and wisecracks.
Each of the Queens has personality to spare. This is not one of those comics where all of the characters look alike and each figure has the same expression no matter what's going on. These are well drawn and expressive characters, with clean and clear action sequences and a nice sense of movement and place. The cursing is very creative and the insults that get hurled all over are even more creative. This is funny, bawdy, ripe stuff which, if anything, is highlighted by a few quieter and more touching scenes. Each Queen has an interesting backstory which is teased out through the tale. By the end you have four very distinct and engaging characters, to whom you feel a real connection. How often can you say that about a comic series?
So, this is a collection with energy and wit and action to burn, and a very nice find. It accomplishes what most buddy-action efforts can only attempt - memorable and engaging characters, a real sense of camaraderie, a driving narrative, and real wit. I'll remember and look for further Rat Queen adventures.
Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Also, a great read! (Not sure what I'm reviewing here, haha)