March 9, 2019 · 11:59 pm
Epic fantasy and science fiction graphic novel series
I’ve been following this series pretty much as soon as it first came out. Even though I am certainly hooked, I have had some concerns for a while that the series has been getting a little stale. I chatted on my podcast some time ago that the author recently announced that the series would be going on hiatus for a year, and so I decided I’d stuck with it this long, I might as well read this last volume. Now, if you’re not up to date, I’d stop right here because this will be full of spoilers.
“Saga Volume 9” by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples begins some time after the end of Volume 8. Hazel, her parents Marko and Alana, Sir Robot IV, his son Squire, the two journalists Upsher and Doff, Petrichor and Ghüs have left Ghüs’ tiny world with Ianthe with the The Will (now known as Billy) forcibly in tow hot on their heels. When Upsher and Doff offer Marko and Alana a chance at a completely new life, the offer is very tempting to others in the group. However, before long Ianthe and Billy have caught up with them and nothing is certain anymore.
“Saga” has been, well, a saga and there is no shortage of drama in this volume. Staples’ art is as mesmerising as ever, and the story continues to shock at every turn. However, I have to say that Hazel’s extremely melodramatic narration has really started to grind on me. There were some parts where I felt it matched the story and art really well, but generally I find it a bit ham-fisted. Vaughan is certainly fearless when it comes to nixing his characters, but in a similar way to the George R. R. Martin, there does get a point where too many of your favourite characters are gone and you just aren’t that invested in the ones left.
I really do think that a hiatus is a good idea. This book ends on a big twist and I’m just not sure where they are going to go from there. A break will hopefully let Vaughan recharge and come back with some fresh ideas to wrap up the series.
Saga Volume 9
Filed under Book Reviews, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Science Fiction
Tagged as book reviews, books, brian k. vaughan, comic, fantasy, fiona staples, graphic novel, saga, Saga Volume 9, science fiction, space opera
February 3, 2018 · 8:31 pm
I’ve been reading the “Saga” series for some time now, and have been reviewing them as they come out on this blog. If you’re not up to date, you might want to go back a step or two so you aren’t dealing with spoilers.
“Saga Volume 8” by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples picks up where the previous volume of the graphic novel series left off. Hazel’s mother Alana, who is pregnant with a second forbidden mixed-race baby that has died in utero, visits a town on a remote planet called Abortion Town with Prince Robot IV pretending that the child is theirs. When they are refused entry, Alana and Marko have to put their faith in the “doctor” in the Badlands who may be able to help.
I’ve said in previous reviews that I’ve been enjoying these comics a bit less, and I think part of the problem is that each one has a lot of hard-hitting social issues that are tackled but there isn’t a lot of overarching narrative. I felt like this one tackled the tricky issues of abortion and transgender identity in an interesting way. As always, the animal side-kicks are on point. However, it’s really hard to see where this is going. Are we just going to be following Hazel’s entire childhood, or are we going to actually get to Hazel as an adult? Is this a comment on the broader socio-political issues of Alana and Marko’s respective planets?
Am I enjoying this as much as I did at the beginning? No, honestly, I’m not. Will I keep reading them? Definitely yes.
May 3, 2017 · 9:19 pm
I’ve been following this graphic novel series (by Brian K. Vaughn and illustrated by Fiona Staples) for a while, so if you want to see what I’ve written about earlier volumes you can check them out here, here and here.
In my last review, I said that I liked Volume 6 a bit less than the other volumes. I’m very sad to say that I think despite starting out all guns blazing, Saga is on a downward trend. If you’re going to kill off main characters, you need to replace them with something of equal or greater value. Unfortunately, I’m just not loving the replacements. It’s such an action-intensive series that, especially with these volumes only coming out every 9 months or so, it’s a bit hard to keep tabs on everything that’s going on. I think maybe it’s also crossed the line from being wild and irreverent to actually quite maudlin.
Anyway, look, I’ll probably keep reading these, but I’ve definitely lost a bit of my enthusiasm after the last couple of volumes. It’s still hard-hitting, but maybe not as fun.
August 4, 2016 · 8:47 am
It was the end of a long day at work a couple of weeks ago and my partner had sent me a message saying that pick me up at the carpark. I rode the elevator down and crossed the street, looking forward to being out of the cold and into some comfy clothes. I walked through the carpark until I saw our car, opened the door, and lo and behold! A brand new copy of “Saga Volume 6” was waiting for me right in the passenger seat!
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might have picked up my obsession with the “Saga” series. Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, the sixth installment dives right back into the action a couple of years after the last one ended.
I think maybe I enjoyed this one ever so slightly less than the first five, and I think that’s partially because some of my favourite characters didn’t make an appearance.
Anyway, there is still plenty of gratuitous sex, nudity, violence and drug use, the premise is still ludicrous and if you aren’t completely offended by it, it’s still a rip-roaring read.
February 22, 2016 · 11:08 am
Just in case you were wondering whether Volume 5 of “Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan is any different from my review of the first four volumes, it is:
- just as violent,
- just as explicit,
- just as depraved,
- just as outrageous, and
- just as awesome.
Cannot wait for Volume 6.
February 22, 2015 · 4:58 am
I have been a fan of Brian K. Vaughan’s graphic novels for a while now. From his heart-wrenching depiction of the true story of the “Pride of Baghdad”, to his mesmerising series “Y: The Last Man” on a post-apocalyptic world without men, Vaughan is a storyteller who works with phenomenal artists to tackle the most difficult and often most poignant of subjects.
The “Saga” series is not one of these stories.
“Saga” is what happens when you decide to completely liberate yourself from all literary anxieties and write exactly what you want. This graphic novel series doesn’t concern itself with avoiding cliches, censorship or scientific viability. Instead, it is an unfettered foray into Vaughan’s imagination and if you come across a familiar theme or trope along the way, well so be it. Fiona Staples’ illustrations are polished, detailed and vibrant and are a standout example of the kinds of quality art that can be found in graphic novels.
The series starts out with a sort of Romeo and Juliet premise. Alana, from a planet of technologically advanced winged people, falls in love with Marko, from a race of magical horned people. These two opposing races are a theme I’ve come across in books such as Sara Douglass’ “Battleaxe” and the equally stunning online webcomic series “Spindrift“. The winged people live on Landfall, and are at war with the people who live on Wreath, Landfall’s only moon. Marko and (the very pregnant) Alana are now on the run from Landfall, Wreath, robot princes with television sets for heads and dysfunctional bounty hunters with talking cat sidekicks. The result is a romping, hilarious, emotionally charged journey and almost every turn of the page leaves you screaming “What?!” in incredulity. The series deals with love, family, relationships, children, abuse, exploitation, overcoming adversity and ideals and is narrated by Marko and Alana’s soon-to-be-born daughter Hazel.
There are four volumes that have been released so far, and I eagerly bought Volume 4 on my holiday in the UK and raced through it in an evening with my eyes veritably falling out my head.
If you are adverse to anything graphic (graphic violence, graphic sex, graphic drug use, graphic language, graphic novel), then I do not suggest you read this series. You will be offended in more ways than you could have believed possible. To give you an idea of what to expect, the first page of Volume 4 is a highly detailed depiction of an alien birth. If you don’t mind a bit of smut and gore, and think you would enjoy as realistic a depiction of the human condition as is likely possible through the medium of a sci-fi/fantasy graphic novel, then get yourself down to your local comic book store and prepare to get hooked.