Book Review: Rat Queens (Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery)

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I had been hearing things for some time about this comic, Rat Queens, and more importantly I had been promised at every turn that I would absolutely love it after the first compiled volume came out last March. A few weeks ago I finally bought it and after one of the slowest shipping experiences possible (I blame my remote city, not Amazon), it arrived. Couldn’t have been a better day, as I was wiped out after a day of thesis writing and needed something to cheer me up. I am delighted to report that it did the job admirably.

The first volume of the comic, whose story is written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and art is done by Roc Upchurch, is a compilation of the first five issues of the series. It chronicles the badass antics of the titular squad of mercenaries, andrat-queens-vol-01-releases from the first page you know the characters are trouble. It takes place in a world familiar to D&D and fantasy fans, but infused with the gritty lady combat of Sucker Punch and an imaginary Joan Jett soundtrack (or was that just in my head?) But it’s not right to compare the series with other franchises, really. It brings enough to the party on its own.

The characters are great and we get a tantalizing look at everyone’s backstories in this volume. The dialogue is so, so important in comics with their limited space, and not only does Rat Queens do a great job of establishing a unique voice for each character, but the pacing works extremely well and the story doesn’t stagnate. Did I also mention it’s funny? And filled with amazing women? Yeah, I kind of have a book crush.

Volume 2 is coming out at the end of April, but if you can’t wait that long then the individual issues are available here, or at your local comic book store, if they know what’s good for them. Let me know what you think if you give the series a try. I’m already looking forward to giving it another read.

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