Musings in the Dark: Update: Rat Queens


Update: Rat Queens

My summer of comic books continues with Rat Queens.  Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and illustrated by Roc Upchurch and Stjepan Sejic, Rat Queens follows the adventures of four female mercenaries who are tasked with ridding their city of supernatural creatures and fall prey to malicious malevolence.  There are two volumes currently available from Image Comics, which I picked up on Amazon.

The first volume, Sass & Sorcery, introduce us to the Queens: Hannah, an elf; Betty, a “smidgen” (little person), Violet, a dwarf, and Dee, a human.  You already know the reason why I’m even bothering to read the series and report on it: Dee.

This is Dee, the Atheist Human Cleric.


I enjoyed the story and as you can see, the artwork is phenomenal.  The Queens are a quartet of invincible ass-kicking, hard-drinking females.  Their lives are bloody and hard, but they thrive in these circumstances.  In Volume 1, the Queens run afoul of assassins who are knocking off their fellow mercenaries and in Volume 2, the story continues as we find out who is responsible for the inherent fuckery.

My biggest issue with the books is the treatment of Dee.  She is the Atheist Human Cleric; her parents worship an airborne rendition of Cthulhu, and she is an extremely powerful healer.  She literally mends broken bones, restores sight (to an extent), and repairs near-fatal injuries with a wave of her hands.  But she doesn’t get nearly the same amount of coverage or development as her fellow Queens. 

A scene that really pissed me off occurs at the end of Volume 1.  After a bloody victory, every Queen celebrates with sex…except Dee.  We see her sitting on a couch, feigning interest in a book, and when a guy approaches her, she waves him off.  Then she randomly decides to investigate some stolen scrolls and runs off. 

I was like, “They better rectify this shit at the beginning of Volume 2.”

They do not.  The writer adds insult to injury by showing the other Queens in bed with their fuck buddies and Dee lying in bed alone and sad about it.

What the actual fuck????

Don’t sit here and tell me that this gorgeous woman—by far the prettiest and classiest of all the Queens—shuns a man clearly interested and then looks pitiful because she woke up alone, knowing her sorors are getting broke off.  What, she doesn’t deserve a fuck buddy? Miss me with that bullshit. 

Anyway, we later find out that Dee has a husband that she willingly left (and he agreed to let her go) to literally find herself and understand her faith.  This isn’t developed nearly as well as the author thinks it is.  I felt that Dee had been royally cheated.  We get no real detail into her relationship with her husband; he appears basically out of nowhere to help advance the plot.  Do they love each other?  Will they get back together?  What made her decide to leave her husband and become a mercenary?  There’s no resolution…at least not yet.

It doesn't feel like she's under any obligation, so again...why does she not get to participate in the sexcapades?

I guess I should hold out hope that Dee will get personal screen time in Volume 3, but to be honest, I’m fucking sick of sistahs’ storylines getting sidelined to the so-called betterment of their white counterparts.  I didn’t give a slice of a fuck about Hannah becoming friends with another elf, as it doesn’t advance the story in any way.  I didn’t give a good gyatdamb about Violet’s family issues, as they don’t advance the story in any way, and I certainly didn’t give a shit about Betty reuniting with her ex-girlfriend, as it didn’t advance the story in any way.  However, Dee’s husband’s presence does advance the story, but we get no flashback or history of their relationship.  It’s almost like an afterthought.


I don’t even know if I care enough to see it through to the end of the series.  I like Dee but I don’t like what the story is not doing.  The creators of this comic clearly don’t know what to do with her.

I do.  Do with her what’s being done with Hannah, Violet & Betty.  Give her a backstory.  Make a segment of the comic dedicated solely to her, just as it did with the other Rat Queens. The shit ain’t hard.  If you're not going to put effort into developing Dee's character, then don't bother putting her in the comic.  I'm sick of this half-assed bullshit.  Dee deserves better.  She's a fucking goddess, so treat her like one.


Update:  Shortly after this review was posted, I received an email from the author of Rat Queens, Mr. Kurtis J. Wiebe.  He appreciated my review and took note of my concerns regarding the treatment of Dee.  Mr. Wiebe assured me that we have only scratched the surface of Dee's subplot as it relates to the main storyline.  I agreed to stick with Rat Queens for the duration of the story.  Here's hoping I come away satisfied with Dee's role in the final product.

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