Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kurtis J Wiebe
Artist: Roc Upchurch
Release Date: 1st October 2014
“You the fucking Rat Queens?”
This issue’s answer to that eminently quotable question from issue #4 of this gloriously sweary series is ‘well, one of them. And not quite yet’. Yes, it’s that time again, ladies – flashbacks!
That’s not at all a comment on the overall quality of the issue – it’s still great fun to read and re-read, and the subversal of the usual fantasy tropes with a feminist bent continues to be joyously surprising at every turn. Herein, we’re exposed to a snapshot of Violet’s life just prior to her becoming an adventurer, ‘traditional’ beard and all, and it’s beautifully weighted. But, being a keen fan of getting on with it, I can’t help but feel it’s essentially treading ground that we’re already aware had happened thanks to the interaction between her and her brother previously – now we’re simply furnished with the precise details, and only slightly better off for it.
Roc Upchurch’s is still fabulous – his character design is a massive factor in this becoming the feminist icon that it is, and he continues along that path beautifully here, deliberately avoiding the usual ‘cosplayable’ stuff to bring us female warriors who have armour that covers more than 2% of their figures. ‘Fuck tradition’ indeed.
Big props, too, must go to Tyler Jenkins – of Wiebe’s other fantastic book, Peter Panzerfaust, fame – for his exceptional cover work.
The series as a whole is still a rollicking, deliciously vulgar five-out-of-five, but this issue, whilst providing us with solid backstory, doesn’t really take the story anywhere, and honestly, aside from the final two pages, you could like as not skip this one entirely and still know what the hell was going on come issue nine, and I’m fairly certain we already liked Violet. I guess now we…really her? Still, it’s exceptionally well crafted, and the dialogue is just as delightful as we’ve come to expect. Here’s hoping the here-and-now story progresses next month, because those two final pages are just incredible.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24