Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery
Written by Kurtis J Wiebe.
Art by Roc Upchurch.
Six Word Summary: Intrigued. Compelled. Need to read more.
Blurb: Who are the Rat Queens?
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!
Collecting Rat Queens #1-5!
Length: 128 pages.
Read as a: Paperback.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this graphic novel, it had me smiling, cringing, and (a truly rare occurrence) actually snorting. The first book, Sass and Sorcery is really in your face as the characters, world, and kind of bloody minded humour of the world is set up. Pages had me holding the book away from myself, taking in the bloody sense, others had me smirking at the banter between the Rat Queens, but as the book went on the more I felt connected to the story and the characters.
Sass and Sorcery starts you off at a distant with these characters. The Rat Queens are very different, more brash, vulgar, funny, violent, and bad arse than you typically see women portrayed. I found this a little polarising, the characters kind of came off as distant and unlikable, however with each page I read, I was seamlessly made to really like these characters.
You start off with such a brash introduction to the Rat Queens, but over the course of the five collected comics, you really get to see a picture of the true characters. For example, initially I wrote Betty off as a cute stereotype of a hobbit played for sexy and silly laughs, but the further I read, I really started to connect with her as a character. I can pretty much say the same for each of the characters, you quickly see beyond them and really want to learn more.
The art of Sass and Sorcery is so beautiful. Even with a full page spread of brains and blood, the action seems to jump out of the page. Upchurch fills the pages with small details and is both clear and subtle in the way in which characters interact and look at each other. Simple traded look and poses, communicate more than the words of the characters, with each panel you understand and see more than ever could have been written.
Best Bits: I LOVED how easily race and sexuality were portrayed in the graphic novel. Each and every character simply was, and they were unapologetic about themselves. No issues were made about a characters race or their relationships.
Please, we need more books that have these characters visible and with no one giving a shit. It makes me feel so warm and happy such easy acceptance in a book ❤
Smaller parts I loved:
- Shut up, Gary!
- I really liked and cannot wait to see more of Sawyer.
- Four Daves.
- The art ❤
- Nice one, Gary.
Recommendations: If you want to have a laugh and read a good story, I would 100% recommend this graphic novel. I pretty much put down the book and started writing this post, if only so that I could pick up the second as soon as I was done.
If you’re a fan of:
- fantasy themed stories
- graphic novels
- strong female characters
- laugh out loud hijinks
- graphic violence
- rich storytelling and beautiful art
then you should give Rat Queens Volume One: – Sass and Sorcery a go!
*Update – I have read all four available volumes and Rat Queens gets weird. There are some things that came out about one of the creators which lead to a lot of (entirely justifiable) drama. This then lead to new people coming on board – which also lead to the whole story being glossed over and left pretty much unresolved. The fourth volume starts after the events of the third volume with everything happening as if the story had already been finished.
When I picked up the fourth volume, I actually thought that I had gotten the wrong book, as none of it made sense and a huge unacknowledged time gap had happened.
I would update my recommendation to just say that maybe stick to the first two volumes. However, if you are aware of the story jump and unresolved nature of the third volume, then sure, continue onto the fourth.*