By David Dissanayake
I just picked up the first volume of the Image Comics series Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchuch, and I have fallen madly in love with it. I think you will too.
I make the comparison to the other three books in this article's title because they really are in similar a vein. Each book is widely different, to be sure, but all of them have that essence of lightening in a bottle – those qualities of simultaneous sincerity, irreverence, and downright hilarity that have made them so popular.
When Rat Queens first came out, I'll admit, the idea didn't really appeal to me. I wasn't familiar with either Wiebe or Upchurch, and another fantasy book just didn't tempt me. Later on down the road, I've had a few friends of mine sing its praise and after hearing so much about it, I picked up the new trade on an impulse buy. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions of my comic book buying career.
Essentially, Rat Queens is a story about a crew of completely badass, irreverent, and HILARIOUS warrior-ladies who do as they please in a in a Dungeons & Dragons inspired world. It's sex, drugs, and ogre-killing, basically, topped off with too many laugh-out-loud moments to count.
Now, if you're not into fantasy, don't worry. I'm not generally the biggest Fantasy fan either and I still really dug this book. I think a lot of times fantasy books can tend to sacrifice character in favor of epic-scale world building. And that's not inherently a bad thing either, that stuff can he AWESOME, but what really brings a person in, especially in creator owned comics, is character. Wiebe puts character first and world building second. The leading women are completely friggin' awesome, and the book is about them, not the world they live in, and that's a very good thing.
Each of RQ's leading maidens are compelling in their own right, each incredibly well rounded with their own quirks, neuroses, and humor that only an expert storyteller could imbue a character with. It's great to see so many different but all equally amazing leading ladies in a single book, and honestly that's a great feat. It's a difficult thing to have so many main characters in a book without any feeling neglected or having the story feel too cramped and crowded.
Alright, enough of my gushing. I think it's clear that I'm really excited about this book, and I think it deserves your dollars. The first trade is only $10, so it won't do too much damage to your wallet.
Go pick it up and let me know what you think. You won't regret it.