8.02.2015

Comic Book Sisters: Dee of Rat Queens

*crossposted on Musings in the Dark*


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 and 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.

YOU GAT DAMN RIGHT!!!



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.

4 comments:

  1. My biggest issue with the books is the treatment of Dee. ...After a bloody victory, every Queen celebrates with sex…except Dee. ....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."

    Leave it to a white writer to scribble this shite.

    Regarding the update...I remain cynical. We heard this sort of response on The Vampire Diaries and after six years, even the most devout fans are still dissatisfied with Bonnie Bennett. The writers on The Flash insisted that by keeping Iris West in the dark and on the sidelines would somehow do the character good, and it did not.

    ...Don't even get me started on Sleepy Hollow.

    And it's not just the shows, it's the books, the films, the comics - we are always told the "best is yet to come" with Black female characters, and when "the best" arrives, it still sucks. Not to mention, it never makes up for the utter failures which led up to "the best". In fact, methinks the whole "best is yet to come" routine is just a marketing ploy not to lose them dollars.

    The fact that Dee is the odd woman out in this regard is merely business as usual. We have seen it so many times; we've been complaining about it for decades. Yet (white) writers keep doing it while swearing they have the best intentions and promising that "the best is still to come".

    Which brings us to yet another question: Why do we always have to wait to get to the sistah's best? The white girls never have to wait. Last time I checked, a "good" product is supposed to be good from start to finish. Would you eat ice cream if it tasted like shit right save for the last few bites? No. So why are Black girls and women always expected to?

    I would vote "Do Not Continue" unless Mr. Wiebe is willing to send you free copies to critique. Because even if he does a 180 with Dee later on, it doesn't make up for this bullshit right here.

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    Replies
    1. Can't believe I forgot: anyone else remember the utter shit they put Guinevere through on Merlin?

      Delete
    2. And it's not just the shows, it's the books, the films, the comics - we are always told the "best is yet to come" with Black female characters, and when "the best" arrives, it still sucks. Not to mention, it never makes up for the utter failures which led up to "the best". In fact, methinks the whole "best is yet to come" routine is just a marketing ploy not to lose them dollars.

      The fact that Dee is the odd woman out in this regard is merely business as usual. We have seen it so many times; we've been complaining about it for decades. Yet (white) writers keep doing it while swearing they have the best intentions and promising that "the best is still to come".

      Which brings us to yet another question: Why do we always have to wait to get to the sistah's best? The white girls never have to wait. Last time I checked, a "good" product is supposed to be good from start to finish. Would you eat ice cream if it tasted like shit right save for the last few bites? No. So why are Black girls and women always expected to?

      I would vote "Do Not Continue" unless Mr. Wiebe is willing to send you free copies to critique. Because even if he does a 180 with Dee later on, it doesn't make up for this bullshit right here.


      Oh believe me, I said as much in my email to him. I was very clear about why Dee's treatment was so problematic.

      Do I expect full resolution? No. I'm not idealistic, but I'm willing to wait it out (I'm a woman of my word, after all) and take one for the team if need be. Besides, it will be a while before I can lay hands on the next volume, so I will BOLO for any and all information about the Rat Queens. If Mr. Wiebe fails to deliver, then it's business as usual and he'll get another scathing review where I point out (AGAIN) what went wrong and why, and use his own words against him if need be. I already told him what he needed to do, so he can't say he had no idea.

      Shit, you and I could write a kickass comic book with this same premise (except a full WoC cast) and knock it out of the park.

      Delete

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