Saga Vol 9 Graphic Novel Review

Saga Vol 9

Erica Gives This Comic Four StarsSaga Vol 9 by Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Fiona Staples (artist), and Fonografiks (lettering + design)
Rating: 4/5 stars

If Saga gets you emotional, get ready for Volume 9. Vaughan continues with the emotional punches, and in many ways, this feels like a wind down of the book. The team says they’re going on a break from this book, so it’s unclear just how long we’ll have to wait for Volume 10 and some conclusions.

This review is about to get super spoiler-filled, so do not continue to read it if you haven’t read Volume 9. Continue reading “Saga Vol 9 Graphic Novel Review”

Saga Vol 8 Graphic Novel Review

Erica Gives This Comic Four StarsSaga Vol 8 by Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

Saga Vol 8The last volume of Saga left me feeling incredibly emotionally manipulated into buying into the story again. This one too. While the last one dealt with themes around war, innocence, and bystander casualties, this deals with the same type of pain — only instead of conflict-related, domestically-related.

(Though I suppose that Marko does blame his own actions of murder for the death of their son, so we could put this in the war pile. Alana wouldn’t have fallen in that manner had they not been trying to escape a planet-destroying, war-related weapon.)

On the other hand, stories about miscarriages — given how common they are — are too few and far between. And they are certainly not in fantasy, space comic books. So I do applaud Vaughan and Staples on this. Continue reading “Saga Vol 8 Graphic Novel Review”

Saga Vol 7 Graphic Novel Review

Saga Vol 7Erica Gives This Comic Four StarsSaga Vol 7 by Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

The last volume of Saga was not my favorite. It signaled to me a wind down in the series. The place where Vaughan gets in his long-term stories where the narrative just kind of bends in the middle without a place to go. (This notably happens in the middle of Y: The Last Man.)

Will Vaughan get Saga together? Does volume 7 accomplish this? Yes and no.

One of Saga‘s strongest elements is Staples’ art. Staples’ art will keep me reading this book when the story doesn’t do it for me. Her art continues to be beautiful. Staples knows how to draw space and movements. She understands bodies like few artists do. You can read this book without with the words. Staples is a true visual storyteller. Continue reading “Saga Vol 7 Graphic Novel Review”

Saga Volume 6 Graphic Novel Review

Saga Volume 6Erica gives this comic three starsSaga Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

Vaughan shifts the time many years ahead. It makes sense since he needs to jump-start the story in the future. Not to mention, grow Hazel. Here she becomes an even stronger narrator.

The trap of future jumping, which Vaughan falls into and makes this the weakest volume so far, is exposition. The old adage of writing is show, not tell. But when you jump years, you need to tell a bit more about what all these characters have been up to. This volume is heavy with exposition.

The part that didn’t work for me the most was the reunion and re-falling in love of Marko and Alana. Previously, she became a secret drug addict and he went looking for affection somewhere else other than their (I assume) monogamous relationship. We got a lot of exposition from Hazel, who despite her somewhat all-knowing narration, wouldn’t have deep details on the romance of her parents.

For me, Alana here has redeemed herself from the last two volumes. Continue reading “Saga Volume 6 Graphic Novel Review”

The Best and the Worst of 2015 Comic Books

Yes, the time has come to say goodbye to 2015 and ring in 2016. Here’s a look back at the Best and the Worst of 2015* Comic Books.

The Best On-Going Series

Bitch Planet1. Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Val De Landro, and Robert Wilson IV
Average rating: 5/5

I love this blatantly intersectional feminist book so much. It packs a solid punch with each and every issue. Though it makes me sad that the book is late almost every month. However, the work and finesse that DeConnick and De Landro put into it make it layered, relevant, and scarily close to our reality. Not to mention the fantabulous essays in the back of every issue.

Read my reviews of Bitch Planet.

Lumberjanes2. Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen, Kat Leyh, Brittney Williams, and Carolyn Nowak
Average rating: 4.9/5

This series was a runaway hit. I’m so happy for the success Lumberjanes has had, both in making it an ongoing series and for its creators, who are doing other amazing projects too. At its heart, this is a book about female friendship and that critical friendship during adolescence. Sure, there are dinosaurs, magical gods, mermaids, etc., but the core is the relationships between the girls. My only wish would be that when I was a girl, there was a great book like this.

Love live Lumberjanes! Friendship to the max!

Continue reading “The Best and the Worst of 2015 Comic Books”

Saga Vol 5 Graphic Novel Review

Saga Vol 5Erica Gives This Comic Four StarsSaga Vol 5 by Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

This volume was a bit heavy-handed about the responsibilities of parenthood. The metaphors too literal and strong. I kind of hope that we find out that an elderly Hazel has been narrating the whole thing. Also, as these issues go on, she’s becoming something on an unreliable narrator or at least one who lives very much in the moment of her story.

It’s not surprising to see more deaths in the book. I thought for sure Klara would be the goner in this book. But instead, it was The Brand and also Yuma. (I now think this book needs more female characters.) Since I really like The Brand, I’m a bit upset by that. Though technically we don’t know what happened to Klara.

The reveal that Gwendolyn named Sophie after herself was pretty powerful to show their connection. Sophie has definitely become more than just her charge while they try to heal The Will.

The whole male dragon thing was like a 12-year-old wrote this book. Seemed like a giant distraction from the main point.

I’m glad to see that time is passing a little more quickly in these books. Seriously, baby characters are never that interesting, same with the toddlers. And if you want action and adventure, it’s hard to always have a small child strapped to someone in these situations. Continue reading “Saga Vol 5 Graphic Novel Review”

Saga Vol 4 Graphic Novel Review

Saga Vol 4Erica gives this comic five starsSaga Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What I loved the most about this volume was how normal it seemed. Or perhaps it was that they weren’t on the run from everything in the known universe all the time. So it’s kind of unsurprising when Hazel introduces this tale as how her parents split up. Alana and Marko actually have time to think about their relationship and compatibility when they have nothing much better to do.

Apparently, Marko’s prone to flirting. I do think it’s interesting that Hazel poses that Ginny came into their lives as a hero — to teach her ballet, to give them a distraction — and ended up being too big of a distraction.

And Alana is prone to escapism. Continue reading “Saga Vol 4 Graphic Novel Review”

Saga Vol 2 Graphic Novel Review

Saga Vol 2Erica gives this comic five starsSaga Vol 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Volume 2 is definitely taking the story in interesting and new directions. I like it alot. I’m glad that the story’s growing and that Hazel apparently has insights into both the past and the future. I’m always curious to see what foreshadowing Vaughan’s layering down.

Staples’ art remains beautiful. The outer space drifting vibes work so well with her pencils. I love the script quality and how inside the tree ship there’s a different, more organic feel going on.

I’m wondering if Marko and Alana don’t break up in the future. Or at least maybe their marriage deteriorates. Or perhaps one of them dies. This book was definitely full of the history of Marko, and I can’t help but think that Barr’s death might be a foreshadow of Marko’s own demise.

Alana and Marko’s love story was cute over D. Oswald Heist’s book. They’re pretty dorky. And it’s not surprising that soldiers would want some normalcy in their lives. Especially since they’ve been fighting far longer than any of the characters have been alive. Continue reading “Saga Vol 2 Graphic Novel Review”

Saga (Vol 1) Graphic Novel Review

Saga Vol 1Erica Gives This Comic Four StarsSaga (Vol 1) by Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

I was worried at the beginning of this that it was going to be a yet another tale of demon and angels mating. Call me pleasantly surprised when I realized it was just different types of aliens having a war. Huzzah! (I’ve just been reading too much Judeo-Christian demon pregnancy stuff all of the sudden.)

I didn’t know what to think of the book being from Hazel’s, the baby’s point-of-view. (Well, her retelling it as an adult.) But Vaughan pushes it further than just a child born from the parents of two warning sides. Which is a pleasant surprise. But he does love his road trip stories. Or in this case, a space trip story.

The character building in Saga is a tad better than the world-building. Vaughan’s definitely more talented with getting the readers into his characters’ heads early on. Though interestingly, I feel that Alana is the character I know the least about. (Arguably, I’d say that Vaughan does have issues with giving more information about women and their motivations.) Marko, however, we learned quiet a bit about. And Prince Robot IV, who I could care less about.

I appreciate the set-up of The Whim being more than just out for money and sex. I liked the Lying Cat (no surprises there). And kind of rooting for him especially when he tries to rescue the underage girl from life as a whore. But at the same time, he’s a bit of the angry manchild with a heart of gold and in love with The Stalk. Too bad she died so early in the tale.

I suppose we’ll see how Hazel figures in her own story. The great test if Vaughan can really write well-rounded women characters. (See the controversy over Y: The Last Man.) Not sure how I feel about Isabel as a character.

While I understand why they had to get off the planet, it would’ve been cool to explore more of the hidden places. I love the opening idea of a planet where the native populations have been killed off and it’s largely unexplored by the conquerors. (Horrible idea, but interesting in how the “winners” could lose due to having the planet kill them.)

But, of course, who could resist flying through space in a tree rocket-ship that’s driving itself wherever it wants.

Staples’ art is gorgeous, and I’m greatly enjoying it. I hope she keeps it up.