Rat Queens 1: Sass and Sorcery

rat queens volume 1 sass and sorcery cover
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Fun characters, grows on you

Feels like it tries too hard at points

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Rat Queens

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Kurtis J. Wiebe

Artist:  Roc Upchurch

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:  2014

rat queens #1 cover review

Rat Queens #1

Reprints Rat Queens #1-5 (October 2013-March 2014).  The Rat Queens live for adventure.  With the other adventurers of Palisades, they spend their days out looking for trouble and the nights causing it.  When Sawyer assigns the adventurers on city issued assignments after a particularly rowdy night, the Rat Queens and the other adventurers find they have been set-up…who is trying to kill the Rat Queens and for what reason?

Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Rat Queens Volume 1:  Sass and Sorcery is a modern fantasy action-adventure comedy book.  The series features illustrations by Roc Upchurch and was released to critical acclaim.

I had heard the buzz on Rat Queens for years but never picked it up until I found the first three volumes at a really decent price.  I was pretty unmoved while reading the first few pages of the first issues when it seemed like shock and awe is what Wiebe was going for with the dialogue, but the series quickly started to grow on me.

The story essentially is presenting a world where instead of having “thees” and “thous” of most fantasy, the characters are foul mouth and speak with modern language.  It is vulgar and definitely not kid friendly, but Wiebe really seems to have gotten into the characters and how to write them…sucking you in quickly.

rat queens #5 cover betty variant

Rat Queens #5 Variant

It is the Rat Queens themselves that make the series.  While fantasy women are often hypersexualized in costume and style, the characters here seem to be more real.  While Hannah dresses in a very revealing outfit, it is more like her character while, Betty, Violet, and Dee all dress more practical.  The real scene stealer is Betty who is sometimes very childlike but has great moments like with Faeyri and even laugh out loud lines like telling Sawyer she sells drugs for pocket money.

Roc Upchurch’s style fits the writing and the characters.  He does enough in the volume to really start distinguishing the characters and the large supporting cast of the series.  Often in fantasy series, too many characters look alike and just seem like generic fodder…which is why I like gangs like the Four Daves (which almost parodies this) and the Rat Queens’ other allies.

Rat Queens definitely grows on you.  The women are choosing their own path, their own conquests, and their own looks and styles.  It feels rather proactive and surpasses the attempts to just “be cool”.  Image released the first collection (like many of their series) at a lower price so check it out.  Rat Queens 1:  Sass and Sorcery was followed by Rat Queens 2:  The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth.

Related Links:

Rat Queens 2:  The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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