Book Review - Rat Queens Vol. 1

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & SorceryRat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have no idea what I was expecting, but suffice to say this book didn't live up to any of those expectations. I came across the name in an article about female characters in comic books and people wouldn't stop commenting on the number of female characters here.

Yes, the main characters are women - they're independent, badass, have drama and sass (man, I hate that word), but at the end of the day they're not as out-there as I expected.

Three out of four of the main female characters are conventionally shaped (one is a smidgeon and is smaller with a big head) and hence their outfits are ridiculous. No one in their right minds would go to a party wearing those outfits, forget going to war. If I wanted poorly dressed female characters I'd stick with DC Comics!

The fourth character is a dwarf with a beard, which means she does not get a serious hottie for her love interest - all the others do. Also, the only POC character among the four gets zero love in the volume that I read. SPOILER - That's because she's already married but can't be with her husband because... reasons.

The series is created by two men, and it shows. Every time the Queens are faced with an impossible battle, their win is through a cop out. SPOILER - The bit with the dragon would never happen in a comic with male protagonists. They'd fight to the death. Someone would be burnt to a crisp and come back all grizzled but still get the girl. Nothing happens to the Queens. The majority of the other teams we meet suffer casualties, but the Queens - nope, nothing. They're hail and hearty throughout.

The one thing I liked was that the first Boss Battle requires the main character to save her male love interest, which honestly doesn't happen enough in popular media.

The art is inconsistent. Some panels are picture perfect, others seem to want to be an Edvard Munch painting. Also, while I'd read a lot about the diversity in races and sexualities, there is very little of that going on (as far as I read). In fact, at one point, Tizzie saves Hannah from Bernadette and I had to re-read the panel several times because I thought the second long-haired blonde woman was also Bernadette. They looked the same! Say it after me - all elves do not have to be white!

SPOILER - At one point it is revealed, through an origin story, that Braga used to be Broog, but nowhere does it explore how or why Braga came to this decision - her origin story never touched on her realisation that she's transgender. It seems like a really silly thing to throw in there, if you're not going to explore it in the same volume, at least to some extent. END SPOILER

I was expecting something really outstanding and different. But this often feels like it's just towing the same ol' lines. Image Comics likes to think it's doing something new and more high brow, but it's nowhere close.

I was so disappointed that even though I've left the series at a cliffhanger I couldn't be bothered to go back and find out what happens. The characters aren't worth it.

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