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VAGRANT QUEEN, VOL. 1 – Review by The Comic Book Yeti

  • Big Indie

  • Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
    Art: Jason Smith
    Publisher: Vault Comics

    Vagrant Queen (tpb), cover, Vault Comics, Visaggio/Smith

    WHAT IS IT?

    A space adventure grounded in reality, following an exiled queen who has no desire to reclaim her throne.

    Vault called it “Star Wars if Princess Leia was the main character,” and I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

    WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

    (Minor Spoilers)

    Elida Al-Feyr is a queen on the run.

    She does work for hire, Firefly style. Her latest job paid well, but when an old “friend” tells her he can find her mother, she can’t help but sign onto this new gig. After all, her mother was captured during the uprising that caused Elida to live life on the lam the past 15 years — how could she pass up the chance for a reunion?

    But if they do find her mother, Elida has to give her old acquaintance, Isaac, her ship. Well, his ship. It’s complicated.

    Anyway, she and Isaac have to break into forbidden space to find her mother. But they’re also being chased by ex-Marquis Ori-Bastra, and eternal jerk, Lazaro. Though part of the aristocracy, he helped overthrow the monarchy and has been pursuing the Queen ever since. In fact, he’s dead-set on killing our vagrant queen, and there might be even more to his plan than he’s letting on…

    Will Elida find her mother? Or will Lazaro finally capture and kill her? Can both happen? Is that an option?

    WHAT WORKS?

    • Magdalene Visaggio hits all the adventure genre high notes: Slogging through a sewer, breaking out of jail, being pursued for years by an unshakeable enemy from our protagonist’s past
    • Visaggio’s characterization is strong: people talk colloquially, normally, grounding it in a relatable reality while giving the story a devil-may-care tone
    • It’s no accident the villain is an entitled white man abusing others because of something as ridiculous as rumors, and that he blames everything on a strong woman of color
    • Speaking of which, our main character is a very likable, strong woman of color — something we need much more of in comics and media as a whole
    • Visaggio also made sure to write Elida so she can be straight, cis, trans or queer — however the reader wants to define her, something that works for any audience
    • A line from the comic stuck with me: “All the old things must pass away.” This, combined with Elida’s very mature and open-minded decision not to try to retake her throne feel like a powerful statement on old ways of thinking and how privilege should step down to make way for progress.
    • Jason Smith’s panel layout shuns the 9-panel grid-style for rich backgrounds and dynamic action scenes, creating an immersive, informal and constantly in-motion world. For an example of this and Saxon’s colors, check out the page below.
    • Smith’s characters, their facial expressions and mannerisms are reminiscent of classic, late-night cartoons, washing Vagrant Queen in a sense of nostalgia.
    • Zakk Saam’s lettering is fun and sci-fi influenced and immersive
    • Harry Saxon’s colors can go from Moebius pastels to moody dark palettes with pops of red. It really works for a book that can go from space adventure to comedy to drama in the span of a few panels.
    • I don’t often go into design, or even credit the designer in these reviews, but Tim Daniel at Vault absolutely kills it with every Vault title. In this one, he uses a single moment in between panels as a chapter divider to foreshadow an event and then remind the reader how violent and terrible a person this character is.

    WHAT DOESN’T WORK?

    • Violence & cursing make this not the best book for kids
    • Some story events felt spaced too far apart, so that I couldn’t make certain connections until the second time reading the story
    • Doesn’t necessarily break new ground in the genre as far as story goes, but it still makes for one entertaining comic!
    Vagrant Queen (tpb), Vault Comics, Visaggio/Smith

    WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

    If you’re looking for a fun space adventure that won’t bum you out, check out Vagrant Queen. If you’re looking for stories featuring a nuanced woman of color, read Vagrant Queen. If you’re l- actually, you know what? Just read Vagrant Queen. It’s a lot of fun.

    WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

    If you like the writing:

    If you like the art:

    • Kim & Kim by Magdalene Visaggio & Eva Cabrera
    • On the Verge by Jason Smith
    • Firefly by various creators

    ABOUT THE CREATORS

    Magdalene Visaggio – Writer

    • Multitalented: Also sometimes contributes articles to Paste Magazine
    • You can support her on Patreon to ensure she’s able to keep writing fantastic comics like this one
    • Is an outspoken champion for LGBTQIA+ rights both in her comics and in her daily life

    Jason Smith – Artist & Cover Artist

    • His work often combines traditional and digital media
    • Has been making comics since 2010

    Harry Saxon – Colorist

    • Outlander: Lives in England, but born in Greece
    • Test of Time: Has worked as an independent illustrator and colorist since 1999

    Zakk Saam – Letterer

    • Inspired by Nate Piekos/Blambot, Clayton Cowles & Dave Sharpe
    • Dream Team: Also worked with Magdalene Visaggio and Harry Saxon on Sex Death Revolution

    Adrian F. Wassel – Editor

    • Name Recognition: Is the CCO & Editor In Chief of Vault Comics, and plays the role of editor on most, if not all, of Vault’s titles
    • Also helps run Vault with his brother and father
    • Has personally helped other comics creators in their endeavors

    HOW DO I BUY IT?

    Click one of these:

    The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

    All Vault Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Vault Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

About The Author

Matt Ligeti

(AKA "The Comic Book Yeti") believes reviews should be simple and modern, written in a way that's easy for the average person to read. Wanna' know more? Send the Yeti and email at TheComicsYeti@gmail.com or visit ComicBookYeti.com

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