Women In Comics: Braga #1 Mini-Review
Rat Queens Special: Braga #1
Image Comics’ “Rat Queens” has courted controversy and critical praise for its intersectional feminist take on the oft-male-dominated Dungeons & Dragons inspired tales of high-fantasy action. For the uninitiated, the best-selling book was created last year by Writer Curtis J Weibe and Artist Roc Upchurch, who was asked to leave the book about an all-female and racially diverse cast of 4 merry mad mistresses of magic and mayhem, when he was arrested on domestic violence charges against his wife in December. Upchurch was then replaced by artist Stjepan Sejic.
(Targaryen In Red from our Game of Thrones t shirts collection.)
A one-shot side adventure focusing on a background character, the Orc maiden frienemy of the main gals, and leader of another adventuring party, Braga, was published in the interim. Braga just so happens to be a Trans* woman, as the issue reveals, with stunning art by female relative newcomer, Tess Fowler.
The story of Braga herself is fairly straightforward: born the eldest son of an Orc chieftain, “Broog” as he was then known, was always rebellious, favoring peaceful negotiations over his father’s war-mongering ways. Broog’s younger brother challenged him for the throne, gouging Broog’s eye, but losing his good arm in the fight, and Broog left the land in his care. There are hints at a love story, left mercifully ambiguous, and overall, it’s a story of being self-defined in every possible way: it’s like any other Rat Queens tale: diverse, colorful, gory, smart and fiercely contemporary, with just enough sexy and silly to keep it afloat.
Even as Trans* characters seem to be having a “moment” in pop culture, I can not recommend this story enough. Rat Queens #9 is on sale from Image Comics now, as are Braga #1 and the first 6 issue collected graphic novel.