Take one WOW/D&D world, add in a heavy helping of snark and top with a four-woman mercenary squad that’s …mostly…. effective, and you have the makings of Image Comics’ new Rat Queens series.

“Rat Queens! Put the sexy back in large wholesale slaughter!”

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The Rat Queens themselves are as diverse as you could hope for in an all girl destruction team. Betty is a tiny blonde hobbity thing with big ears, a drug habit, and a set of sticky fingers. Hannah is an elf Mage with a foul mouth and a temper, Dee is a human Cleric with big hair and bigger attitude, and Violet is a dwarf fighter with swords of doom and a talent for a well placed tag line.


Why is this on our bookshelf?

Rat Queens is a new series from Image Comics, with its first trade book (that’s comic-speak for “collection of comic books all bound into one ‘real’ book”),  Vol 1: Sass and Sorcery, combining the first five issues of the series.

It’s a continuing series, though, and will keep going (hopefully) forever and ever and ever and ever and ever…. and you get the point.

Although some of the language used is fantasy wargame language, as long as you have a passing familiarity with things like “paladins” and “warbands” in their geeky iterations, you should do fine.

Rating (5 stars)

A dwarf fighter with an attitude problem and real hips? SIGN ME UP! I started reading this series after seeing it mentioned somewhere (tumblr? twitter?) before the first issue even came out.

The blurb basically sold it as four lady fighters with sass, and boy howdy, has it ever delivered.

Not only do you get at least one good “Holy crap can Roc Upchurch draw fight scenes” moment in each issue, but Kurtis Wiebe gives each of the girls their own personality and style of snark as well.

In essence, it’s the most feminist comic I think I’ve ever read that doesn’t explicitly set out to be ZOMG!FEMINIST and in your face about it. Wiebe describes the series by saying:

“It’s also managed to be popular with women, and I think it’s because we didn’t go out to make a comic that catered to women. I suppose that might have been the assumption because we made the characters all women, but I think that audience wants what anyone wants; characters that have a voice and are equally flawed as they are strong. We also don’t pull any punches. These ladies live in a brutally violent world, so they express their life in similar terms. They get roughed up while they kill enemies, they swear like sailors because that’s the type of world they live in and they make no qualms about getting wasted and causing a scene because they are 20 year olds.” Newasrama.com 2/07/14

One of the greatest things about the series is the fact that it hasn’t shied away from clearly showing differences in bodies and colors of characters as well. 

Although three of the Queens are pale-peachy-pink skinned, of the peach-toned three, one is a dwarf (who references how she should really grow her beard back in and has thighs like tree trunks), one is an elf (with chest tattoos and Bettie Page hair) and the third is a hobbit-sized thief. The only actual human among the Queens is a dark skinned “atheist cleric.”

The whole cast, including the background characters, is really incredibly diverse for a comic; the other groups the Queens interact with are filled with different races (and species!).