Sigh, another long hiatus from a busy spring and a lazy reading schedule. I’ve been finally getting around to checking out a couple of comic book series that Tumblr has overall just completely fanned out over.
So, I could absolutely see why this is Tumblr’s cup of tea – it is feminist, queer, violent, and bawdy – but it just wasn’t quite my thing. I think I’m a bit old for it, honestly. The titular Rat Queens are a diverse group of mercenary women, and what the comic does especially well is highlighting the distinct personalities and backgrounds of each of the four women, and their varying relationships with each other. In the collected first volume, they and several other mercenary groups are offered a quest as an alternative to jail time for a bar brawl that got out of hand.
It is clever and funny, and I can’t quite put my finger on why I don’t really like it. It is pretty juvenile humor (though not in subject matter or artwork), but I’m usually all about juvenile humor. I asked Rebecca whether she’d read it, and she couldn’t actually remember whether she had or not, so I guess that corroborates my own lack of enthusiasm.
Saga, on the other hand, was immediately engrossing. It opens with an extremely rustic birth scene, and unfolds from there, moving forward with the gripping plot and filling in the backstory as it goes. Our two new parents are such a hopeful, almost innocent Romeo and Juliet pair, though with much more personal agency than the Shakespeare couple, that I was immediately rooting for them.
They are from different planets, one of winged people and one of horned people, that have been pitted in a seemingly never-ending intergalactic battle incorporating many other planets as well. Winged Alana and horned Marko are opposing soldiers that fell in love and abandoned their posts in order to start a family together, and thus just about everyone wants them dead, including an aristocratic tv-faced robotic person, and two different feuding mercenaries, one a beautiful spider woman and the other a strictly-human-seeming man that travels with a giant lie-detecting cat. Can you see why I loved this so much?
In addition to just all the oddness, the motivations and emotions behind the characters still feel so real. Also, the art is perhaps the best that I have ever seen in a graphic novel – it is really spectacular. When I went to track down volume 2, I discovered that Saga is written by the same author as Runaways, which Rebecca raved about a while ago.