Hugo Reviews: Rat Queens Vol 1


The only crime of crude humor is when it’s not particularly funny and a lot of the jokes in Rat Queens feel crude for crudeness sake. After a few pages, it was incredibly tiresome and I’d lost interest before the story had even gone anywhere. Reading Rat Queens is like reading a real-play of D&D session run and played entirely by dude-bros. There is a lot of girls talking about sex, striking sexy poses, and doing the whole ‘we’re in-your-face badgirls!’ thing that feels like it’s trying too hard and never comes across as being particularly sexy.

Every page of Rat Queens made me wish I was reading Rusty & Co. instead. The jokes are funnier, the girls are cuter and who doesn’t love the idea of an adventuring party comprised of a Rust Monster, a Mimic and a Gelatinous Cube?

I will grant that Rat Queens had some decent fights, but that’s not really enough to make up for the cumbersome innuendo laden dialogue. Honestly, the worst part about Rat Queens to me is that there was a lot of potential being squandered. With time and some tweaks, focusing more on better storytelling than filling the characters’ mouths with bad sex jokes (and by the end of the volume, there had been a bit of improvement), Rat Queens could potentially be a great comic. But it’s definitely not something I feel like I could hold up and say “this is one of the best works of graphic speculative fiction” and I won’t be sticking around to find out if it gets its act together.  With all of the quibbling over puppies, I’m amazed that there hasn’t been a furor over Rat Queens Vol 1’s nomination in light of its artist’s domestic abuse arrest that led him to being kicked off the book.

This one will be pretty low on whatever order I end up putting down in the Graphic Story category, though I’m not expecting a lot from something called “Sex Criminals”. I know nothing about Saga, but it’s up to it to keep Ms Marvel from backing into 1st place on my ballot.

10 responses to “Hugo Reviews: Rat Queens Vol 1

  1. Pingback: And Now For Something Completely Distempered 6/9 | File 770

  2. I thought vol. 2 was a significant step up from vol. 1. Vol. 3 of Saga, on the other hand, was a step up from the first couple volumes. So I like Rat Queens better than Saga as a whole but the latter wound up with a better volume on the ballot. I don’t think the writing of either is close to Ms. Marvel though (slow burn that it is).

    • I think my biggest problem with Rat Queens is that going into it, it superficially looks SOOO much like Rusty & Co. and works on a lot of the same conceits. At least in volume 1, I didn’t find any of the lead characters particularly endearing or interesting.

      I can totally see why a lot of comic fans would dislike the new Ms. Marvel (none of it having to do with her being Muslim), but if you take it for what it is, it’s not bad. The biggest thing that could’ve been done to improve Ms. Marvel would’ve been giving her a better villain sooner.

  3. I think I heard that the artist’s domestic abuse arrest makes him part of the puppy slate.

    Wow, that was inappropriate.

    • Wow. Honestly, I’m almost in the camp of feeling like the Puppies are the lesser of two evils sometimes. I mean, while I joke about the glamour of Vox being a dashing villain, I can’t say that I really think he is some kind of great and awesome dude. And maybe I’m exhausted by the culture war, but I can’t be arsed to read that much more culture war-y stuff, even when I agree with it. But MAN have I seen some ridiculous hate on the other side of the aisle! And I’ve got THE Nick Mamatas calling me a liar over on the Space Gaming blog.

      But yeah, with all of the stuff where people are all “This person is bad and doesn’t belong on the nomination list because someone who said something I disagree with helped get them nominated” I can’t believe that it wasn’t until just yesterday that I found out about Upchurch being arrested for domestic abuse.

      • Sorry to hear that, I can’t say I’ve thought you’ve been dishonest!

        I know I make snap judgements from time to time, but I try to keep an open mind and admit when I’m wrong. This Hugo thing is too complicated to reduce to white hats and black hats. The truth is sci-fi fandom, and writers, can be a bunch of jerks, IMO because of the fandom part. “It’s my thing, and don’t you tell me how it should be, I know how it should be.” Whatever the motive for the slates, it is wrong to tar everyone on it and those supporting it for other reasons.

        Anyway it was just an attempt at a joke, which I knew even at the time was doubly wrong for slagging people in the “puppies” crossfire and for making light of domestic abuse.

      • Thanks. I’ve seen some pretty rough stuff in fandoms, and even participated in some rough stuff before, but I feel like this takes the cake. Admittedly, I’ve only read all of the works in one of the fiction categories that was slate dominated, but I think it also hurts the Sad Puppies’ argument for the need for better quality science fiction that they put up some really mediocre stuff. Unless it was a part of Vox Day’s master plan to make sure that Wright was a lock for each category. I have not seen that hypothesis floated yet.

        I also liked Julie Dillon’s art best out of the Professional Artist category, and she wasn’t a slate nominee.

      • Also, y’know, it’s a shame that Zombie Nation didn’t include a free sample (I mean, I understand why they didn’t, given that it’s already a free web-comic) in the packet and now even a lot of Puppies are all “Oh, yeah? Well screw em!” (even though they were on the slate x_X) . I just poked over there and just what little I saw was pretty funny and seemed like it would be up my alley. It looks to be more Lovecraft than straight-up zombie stuff.

  4. I remember reading a couple preview pages of Rat Queens — I don’t remember when — and I don’t know if I even finished reading the free stuff. It felt utterly forgettable. Like you said, squandered potential.


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