I'm trying to get caught up with my comics reviews--some of these books I've read a long time ago, but never had the chance to review. And some I'm just reading now. So prepare yourselves! Comics are happening!
I knew I had to read Rat Queens when I first saw it, but for whatever reason, it ended up slipping on my To Be Read pile. Something was always coming up or happening, and I just never got to it until now. What a mistake! I devoured this first volume, Sass and Sorcery, which contains the first five issues.
Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe with art by Roc Upchurch, Rat Queens is the story of four women, described on the back cover as "a pack of booze guzzling death dealing battle maidens-for-hire." It's of the sword and sorcery genre, but updated for a modern audience who knows that women can kick names and take ass with the best of them. These ladies don't hold back, and the comic is full of wit, laughter, violence, sexy times, partying, and most importantly, heart. An imbalance of these things would make the comic into a spoof, but Wiebe and Upchurch did a phenomenal job with their pacing of action and timing of jokes. The four main characters are tight friends, and really care for each other. They have each other's backs, which was really refreshing (I'm kind of sick of the whole competition between women, aren't you?).
All four main characters are fully fleshed three dimensional characters with complete personalities and backstories that make them who they are. Not only that, but the characters--including secondary characters--have different body types, and the cast is diverse in pretty much all ways. The comic not only deals with friendship between women in a positive way, but body image, sexuality, and varying lifestyles. And all of this is handled in a natural, story-driven way. Nothing hits you over the head or is screaming *MESSAGE* at you as you read. It's a comic as comics should be. I love the irreverence and fun as much as I love the adventure and the relationships between characters.
My favorite characters? I love all of them, but I have to say Hannah, because let's face it, she's me, and Betty, because she's fun and loyal to the end, one of my favorite character types (also, she's a smidgeon, and you know how I love my smaller races!). Orc Dave has also pretty much become an instant favorite. Seriously, so often in books like this, there is always one character who drives me up the wall, but that's just not the case here. I love them all, and can't wait to read the next volume!
Melanie R. Meadors is the author of fantasy stories where heroes don't always carry swords and knights in shining armor often lose to nerds who study their weaknesses. Her fiction has most recently appeared in the anthologies Champions of Aetaltis and Kaiju Rising II: Reign of Monsters. Melanie is the co-director of the Gen Con Writer's Symposium and the publisher at Outland Entertainment. She's the co-editor of the anthology MECH: Age of Steel and editor of Hath No Fury, and she is a blogger and general b*tch monkey at The Once and Future Podcast.