Saga Volume 9 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Fiona Staples

Saga Volume 9 is a 2019 Hugo Awards finalist in the Best Graphic Story category and my (slow but steady) Hugo readathon is the reason why I started binge reading the series last week.

In the process I’ve met new friends, lost a lot of new friends and fallen in love with a galaxy I didn’t even know existed until recently.

Huh. Well, that sounds ominous.

The Will and Ianthe [hiss!] have arrived on the planet where we last saw Alana, Marko, Hazel, Friendo, Petrichor, Ghüs, Sir Robot, Squire, Upsher and Doff, who are all together aboard the treehouse rocketship. Hazel and Squire now act like they’re siblings, Petrichor and Sir Robot now act like … something else, Upsher and Doff are still trying to secure the story of their lives, and Ghüs is playing babysitter, remaining cute no matter what he does.

See? What did I tell you?! Cutie pie!

The treehouse rocketship lands on Jetsam, home of our tenacious tabloid reporter and photographer. Upsher and Doff have offered our favourite family a deal that seems too good to be true but they’re not the only ones who may be considering it.

Sir Robot reminded me why I don’t completely trust him and elsewhere, Agent Gale resurfaces; both men have their own agendas. So many competing agendas in this series! Most of which aim to harm my our favourite family!

The past catches up with a few of the characters and it’s Saga, so not everyone is going to come out of it alive and those that are left to pick up the pieces are changed. So am I.

Anyone can kill you, but it takes someone you know to really HURT you. It takes someone you love to break your heart.

The details in the illustrations keep delighting me. Squire’s ducky baby sling has now been converted into a backpack! It was a nice thing to notice in between all of the times my heart was shattered.

Anticipation and dread aren’t opposites, just different versions of the same game.

This is the first cliffhanger I’ve been involved in where I don’t have the luxury of immediately picking up the next Volume and I chose one hell of a time to be stuck on this damn cliff wanting to curl up in the foetal position.

Seriously, I think the author and illustrator of this series are going to need to start paying my therapy bills! I know we’re at war here but you’re only allowed to kill off people I don’t like from now on, okay?

So, until I get the opportunity to continue this series I’m going to pretend I wasn’t traumatised by this Volume. Instead I’m going to remember this brief respite from danger, when fun existed and even those in whatever galaxy this is knew how to reference Jaws.

Maybe in the next Volume Gwendolyn, Sophie and Lying Cat (who were physically absent during this Volume) will find a way to make everything miraculously okay again? Hey, a girl can hope!

Content warnings include continued graphic sexual content and violence, physical abuse and mention of death by suicide (although I suspect it was more likely to have been murder).


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The multiple Eisner Award-winning series returns with a spacefaring adventure about fake news and genuine terror. Get ready for the most shocking, most impactful Saga storyline yet.

Collects Saga #49-54.

Saga Volume 8 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Fiona Staples

Spoilers Ahead!

Hazel’s mother, Alana, is from Landfall, a “sci-fi wonderland”, and her father, Marko, is from Wreath, Landfall’s moon, a “magical fantasy realm”, but nothing’s feeling overly magical or wonderful right now because my heart was unceremoniously sliced open (multiple times) by the author and illustrator during the last Volume. Not satisfied with their previous attempts to destroy my emotional integrity, they commenced with the agony as soon as this Volume began.

It’s been two months since we’ve last seen our favourite family and I cannot even imagine the hell they’ve been through in the meantime, or the hell that they’re about to endure. I really can’t. This series is definitely not one to shy away from the really big issues.

So, we’re on a planet called Pervious travelling to the Badlands and although we’re here for more heartache, at least they have pretty multicoloured zebras there to remind us there’s good in the world too. After all, we need this reminder when we discover Dung People are also found here. So, without further ado, meet Button.

Petrichor and Hazel have the discussion about their bodies in this Volume that I’ve been waiting for and it was handled so well. I love that the diversity of this series includes a transgender woman. Petrichor has intrigued me since I met her and she’s finally given a chance to really shine in this Volume. No matter what she does from this point forward I’ll have her back.

A Volume of Saga is not complete unless we get to meet some new people. In this Volume Petrichor and Sir Robot meet up with a family – Kidd, Paw and Maw,

while Alana, Marko and Hazel meet Endwife.

Given the sensitive nature of why we’re on Pervious in the first place I didn’t expect to see Hazel’s younger brother, Kurti, who died in utero at the end of the last Volume. However, due to some amazing and apparently quite dangerous magic called Forecasting, Alana, Marko and Hazel all get to interact with who he could have been. It’s beautiful but it’s also heartbreaking. This scene pretty much broke me.

In a flashback of The Will’s childhood we meet his Uncle Steve, A.K.A. The Letter, and his chameleon sidekick. It’s also pretty clear now why The Will and his sister became Freelancers.

Speaking of The Will, he initially met the person I now love to hate more than anyone else right now during the previous Volume. I now know this woman as Ianthe and while I despise her, I will say this for her; this woman travels in style!

After not seeing any of them in the previous Volume we learn that Upsher and Doff have met up with Ghüs, Squire and Friendo. They’re in the vicinity of a Dread Naught, which could potentially help nourish them and keep Friendo off the menu. If only Dread Naughts weren’t invisible until the day they die. Except, robots can see their insides regardless because … robot, I guess.

I love that D. Oswald Heist’s books and quotes keep popping up in this series. Between those and The Will’s drug induced hallucinations I get to see characters I thought I’d never see again. It reminds me of Chris Carter saying that no one ever really dies on The X-Files and gives me hope that I may be fortunate enough to get a glimpse of some of my favourite departed Saga characters. That means you, Izabel and the original Kurti.

The illustrations are extraordinary in this series. They manage to go from breathtakingly beautiful to carnage and back again seamlessly. One of the main reasons I’m so chained emotionally, for better or worse, to so many of Saga’s characters is because I’ve seen their strengths, vulnerabilities and traumas written all over their faces or whatever they have instead.

I love the small details that allude to previous Volumes; at the end of this Volume Hazel is wearing the bracelet that Jabarah gave to Alana in Volume 7 and I couldn’t decide if I needed to smile, cry or both when I noticed this. Jabarah gave this to Alana during her pregnancy with Hazel’s brother. In Jabarah’s culture it’s worn until the day the child is born. 😢

Despite all of the trauma I’ve witnessed while reading this series I always find moments of hope in the darkest times

and when even hope feels like a dream, at least there’s plenty of cute smooshed in between the pain.

And when I think I’ve seen every creature this galaxy has to offer I turn the page to find this!

I adore this series!!!

Content warnings include continued graphic sexual content and violence, miscarriage, late term abortion and a dead dog made into a rug, discussion about suicide, child abuse and torture.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

After the traumatic events of the War for Phang, Hazel, her parents, and their surviving companions embark on a life-changing adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.

Collects Saga 43-48.

Saga Volume 7 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Fiona Staples

Spoilers Ahead!

After the cliffhanger at the end of Volume 6 I couldn’t wait to start Volume 7. At this point in the series I don’t think I can say much without accidentally spoiling previous Volumes so if you haven’t read them yet you may want to avert your eyes now.

So, Hazel is five years old now and has finally been reunited with both of her parents. I don’t care what she says; she’s still adorable to me, even when she drools in her sleep.

This kid is even adorable when she’s delivering bad news.

Anyway, joining Hazel on board the treehouse rocketship at the beginning of this Volume are Alana, Marko, Izabel, Prince Robot IV Sir Robot and Petrichor, who we met in Volume 6. Hazel and Petrichor have both lived with keeping the truth of their bodies a secret so I’m interested to see how this plays out in the future.

Due to technical difficulties with the rocketship this motley crew wind up on Phang. Remember Phang? Where Sophie was born and lived (briefly) before she was sold into sex slavery?

Of course the war between Landfall and Wreath has even made it to a comet, useful to both sides because of its resources. Never mind its people, who have suffered immeasurably as a result.

Meanwhile, Sophie (who is her very own brand of adorable in glasses), Lying Cat and Gwendolyn are together on Wreath, Marko’s home moon.

Actually, no, I’m not. P.S. I’ve missed you, Lying Cat! Gwendolyn has a meeting with Gale and his henchmen in an “exotic” location.

Back on Phang, we meet Kurti, another cutie whose name means “sunshine!”, and his extended family. How can there be so much cute in a series that has so much bloodshed?!

Also on Phang is a cute little boar called Bootstraps and The March (who aren’t as cute). Petrichor meets a bluecap, who “are planted in places of conflict to remember tales of battle”

and we learn what a Timesuck is. Big picture spoiler ahead!

The Will and Sweet Boy briefly meet Velour, Gwendolyn’s wife in their search for Gwendolyn, Sophie and Lying Cat.

There is so much going on in this Volume and I have no idea how anyone who hasn’t read the series from the beginning could hope to catch up at this point. On a personal note, we lost my favourite character of the entire series so far in this Volume

but they were certainly not the only ones in the running for my Top 10 favourites who didn’t make it. Falling in love with allegedly fictional characters and then watching on helplessly as the author and illustrator unceremoniously slaughter them is not cool. Not cool at all.

Content warnings include continued graphic sexual content and violence.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

From the worldwide bestselling team of Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained Saga event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience. 

Collects Saga 37-42.

Saga Volume 6 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Fiona Staples

When we last saw Hazel she’d just begun kindergarten, which would have been much cuter if either of her parents could have been there to walk her to school.

Despite their absence she still manages to nails her art project, even though it wasn’t exactly what her teacher, Noreen, asked her to draw.

Previously, Lexis and Zizz of the Last Revolution, along with a reluctant Hazel and Klara, had hopscotched their way away from, well, everyone else and managed to cross paths with a whole ship of TV heads. The TV heads Royal Guard had been searching the galaxy for the missing monarch, Prince Robot IV, whose baby had been stolen by Dengo.

If you haven’t read Volumes 1 to 5, then please read them before venturing into Volume 6 or you’ll likely fling this graphic novel across the room in confusion. This is not the kind of story where you can just waltz right into the middle of and think you’re going to know who’s who in the galactic zoo. If you’ve already read 1 through 5, you’re fine. Continue enjoying the twists and turns.

Anyway, as usual, grandmother Klara is on hand to figure things out. She’s one of the best badass grannies I’ve ever met.

They wind up in a detainee centre … somewhere where they meet Doctor Blaize, who may not be feeling so crash hot at the moment …

Oh, and my main girl Izabel reappears in this Volume so I guess one of the suns somewhere finally set. I’ve missed her so much! Her reappearance naturally results in my heart melting, yet again. Mini family reunion!

Hazel meets Petrichor, who intrigues me. I’m interested in getting to know them better. Meanwhile Marko and Alana have been reunited. With each other, not their daughter.

I’ll pretend you didn’t just say “years”. Also, they are reunited with their brilliant treehouse rocketship.

Ghüs, Friendo (Hazel’s pet walrus – I don’t think I’ve mentioned her before), the TV head formerly known as Prince Robot IV and his son Squire, who is definitely not a newborn TV head anymore, are together.

The Will has recovered and looks slightly different than he did the last time I saw him. Sweet Boy accompanies him.

Upsher and Doff returned and while I still don’t like tabloid reporters, no matter which part of the galaxy they’re from, this duo are growing on me. They still don’t rank anywhere on my favourite character list, which is frightfully long at this point, but I’m no longer looking forward to someone dispatching them either. Speaking of blasts from the past, Ginny, Hazel’s former dance teacher, also pops up briefly.

My favourite panels were book related. What a surprise! I love Noreen!

I have the tendency to wander into popular series fashionably late. A good portion of the time I’m not entirely sure what all the fuss is about but where Saga is concerned I definitely get it. Part of me is rueing the fact that I’ve only just discovered it. The other part of me is ecstatic because this means I get to binge read it and not concern myself (yet) with cliffhangers. But, what a cliffhanger!!

Content warnings include graphic sexual content and violence (perhaps I should have mentioned those in my reviews of Volumes 1 through 5).

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

After a dramatic time jump, the three-time Eisner Award winner for Best Continuing Series continues to evolve, as Hazel begins the most exciting adventure of her life: kindergarten. Meanwhile, her starcrossed family learns hard lessons of their own.

Collects Saga 31-36.

Saga Volume 5 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Fiona Staples

Spoilers Ahead!

It’s been three months since we last saw our favourite family. Hazel, Alana and Klara have been kidnapped by Dengo, who has his reasons. He also had his reasons for kidnapping Prince Robot IV’s newborn son. Something about seeing a kidnapper wearing a baby sling with little ducky’s on it humanises him for me, even if he is a robot. You could say that Izabel may also have been kidnapped but, since the damn suns haven’t set, she’s not part of the equation right now. I missed her.

Meanwhile, Gwendolyn, Sophie, The Brand, Sweet Boy (The Brand’s dog) and Lying Cat (awesome, awesome Lying Cat) are searching for a very specific ingredient on Demimonde that they hope will cure The Will. But they may not be alone. Enter Halvor, who is the older brother of The Stalk. Incidentally The Stalk actually had a name – Enriette.

Then there are Prince Robot IV (with his TV head), Marko, Yuma and Ghüs, who have joined forces (possibly temporarily) in order to rescue TV head IV and Marko’s kidlets.

Poor Marko!

We meet the Revolution, a group of resistance fighters who use “asymmetrical tactics” to attempt to end the war between Landfall and Wreath.

They are Lexis (with the pink superhero eye mask), Sirge (the big brown guy with the red flames (?) coming out of his head), Quain (a snake guy from Mawker and the Captain of the Fourth Cell), Zizz (the guy at the back. He’s from Cleave. Remember we were there in Volume 1?), and Julep (the aqua lady in the lingerie).

There’s plenty of action in this Volume and because we’re in a war here, not all of our friends or foes are going to make it to the end of the story, or this Volume if we’re being honest.

Even though Hazel told us herself in the last Volume that she’s not always this adorable, she certainly is in this flashback. Aww!

While we’re talking cutie pies, check out how sweet Lying Cat looks when they’re sleeping. For a series with a brutal war at its core I find my heart melts much more frequently than I expected it to.

Then there’s Ghüs, who is potentially the sweetest of them all. Maybe.

Content warnings include drug overdoses and a character calling another one ”retard”, a word I despise; thankfully it’s challenged.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Multiple storylines collide in this cosmos-spanning new volume. While Gwendolyn and Lying Cat risk everything to find a cure for The Will, Marko makes an uneasy alliance with Prince Robot IV to find their missing children, who are trapped on a strange world with terrifying new enemies.

Collects Saga 25-30.

Saga Volume 4 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Fiona Staples

Spoilers Ahead!

I’ve become emotionally entangled with so many of the characters in this series in such a short period of time, so much so that I’m genuinely proud of Alana and Marko for managing to keep themselves and their daughter alive for so long, despite incredibly treacherous circumstances.

By the way, Hazel is a toddler now!

Isn’t toddler Hazel adorable?!

Oh. So, isn’t Hazel adorable right this second?

After having heard of the ongoing war between Landfall and its moon, Wreath, narrowly escaped Cleave, rescued Sophie from Sextillion and visited Alana’s all time favourite author in Quietus, we now get to enjoy watching Hazel spend some time on a bouncy castle in Gardenia. But Gardenia is not the only place we visit in this Volume.

That dwarf planet in the distance there? That’s Robot Kingdom. We get to go to Robot Kingdom!!! And it’s good timing too, because Prince Robot IV is currently missing, but we can’t assume he’s dead, no matter what the tabloids report.

I know we’ve visited before when we’ve been following Prince Robot IV’s story but I can’t get enough of it. They’re robots with TV heads! I love seeing how the image they’re showing on their screen lines up with the situation they’re facing. My favourite in this Volume was a baby being born with the standby signal projected across their screen. That’s priceless!

We meet King Robot, whose design is simply perfect! I laughed as soon as I saw him. His head is a widescreen TV and his sceptre is a remote control. Let that sink in for a moment. That’s definitely worth a chuckle.

A lot of people who came into my family’s life looking like heroes ended up acting more like villains.

I’m not telling you who this refers to in this Volume but what I will say is that I’m not trusting anyone nice in this series ever again! Except Izabel. Please don’t prove me wrong, Izabel!

Thank goodness for that!

Content warning for mention of domestic violence.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. As they visit a strange new world and encounter even more adversaries, baby Hazel finally becomes a toddler, while her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana struggle to stay on their feet.

Collects Saga 19-24

Saga Volume 3 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Fiona Staples

Spoilers Ahead!

So, Hazel and her parents, Alana and Marko, along with her babysitter, Izabel, and Klara, Marko’s mother, have arrived at Quietus. They’ve travelled across the galaxy to see the author of Alana’s favourite book, D. Oswald Heist, despite Klara’s eloquently voiced objections. I’m with Alana! If you have the opportunity to have a conversation with your favourite author, do whatever it takes to get there! Move mountains! Sell a kidney! Travel across the galaxy!

They’re grieving the loss of Marko’s father, who died in Volume 2.

The Will, who endeared himself to me when he saved Slave Girl from being a slave girl, finally gives her a name, Sophie. I practically melted when I found out why he chose that name.

We’re introduced to Even, Alana’s stepmother, who she’s obviously very fond of

and, in case you were wondering, it appears tabloid reporters exist in every galaxy. There’s no escaping them!

Lying Cat stole my heart in this Volume for doing what a feline lie detector does, only this time their response made a huge dent in the shame that Sophie was carrying.

Alana, in perfect book nerd form, responded to seeing a library in a lighthouse

and hearing her favourite author talking about their next book. I also loved this author.

Gwendolyn finally winds up having a conversation with her ex and we spend most of our time in a lighthouse that includes said library. Favourite author consistently spoke my favourite lines in this Volume, the standout for me being

Oh, and look! Our little girl is starting to grow up! Aww! 🥰

I have no idea how I remained unaware of the existence of this series until a couple of months ago but it’s brilliant! I can’t wait to binge read the rest of it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

From the Hugo Award-winning duo of Brian K. Vaughan (The Private EyeY: The Last Man) and Fiona Staples (North 40Red Sonja), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe.

Searching for their literary hero, new parents Marko and Alana travel to a cosmic lighthouse on the planet Quietus, while the couple’s multiple pursuers finally close in on their targets.

Collects Saga 13-18.

Saga Volume 2 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Fiona Staples

When we last saw Alana, Marko, Hazel and Izabel they were on board a rocketship, flying away from Cleave, where Hazel was born and where numerous foes have already attempted to capture them. We had just been introduced to Marko’s parents.

In a flashback we get to meet Marko’s childhood dog, Rumfer, who is so cute and has horns (naturally). Speaking of flashbacks, we also get to see how Hazel’s parents met.

When Marko accidentally mentioned his ex, Gwendolyn, in the first volume I wasn’t sure if I’d get to meet her. In this volume I did and she did not disappoint!

I loved getting to know Marko’s parents, especially his father, and decided I need my very own rocketship.

This series seems to be comprised of complex badasses who just so happen to be gorgeous, bloodshed, magic and an interesting storyline that keeps introducing new characters that I instantly love (whether they’re goodies or baddies). I’m fairly certain I’m setting myself up for some ugly crying because there’s no way I can have this many favourites in a war zone and expect them all to survive.

Okay, Marko, if you insist. Bring on Volume 3!

Content warning for mention of death by suicide.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The smash-hit ongoing epic continues! Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and alien monstrosities, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters something truly frightening: her grandparents!

Collects Saga 7-12.

Saga Volume 1 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Fiona Staples

Alana is from Landfall, the largest planet in the galaxy, and Marko is from its moon, Wreath. Landfall and Wreath’s ongoing war has spread far out into the galaxy and, because they’re on opposing sides in this war, they were never supposed to fall in love. They were definitely never supposed to have a chid.

This is Hazel. She was born on Cleave, where her parents met. She has her mother’s wings and her father’s horns.

From my very first day, I was pursued by men. All of them tried to hurt me, but only one managed to break my heart.

It wasn’t long before I knew I would have to continue reading this series, no matter what. Actually, it was right about here that it happened.

Horrors? Count me in! Then I realised that this couple weren’t the only ones destined to encounter Horrors. I was soon to encounter a Horror of my very own.

What kind of nightmare world is this?! No time to read???

Incidentally I loved the Horrors, particularly Izabel. Everyone, please meet Izabel.

Those on both sides of this war are trying to track down this adorable family, including Prince Robot IV of the Robot Kingdom (these guys literally have TV’s for heads!)

and The Will, a Freelancer, whose sidekick, Lying Cat, possesses a unique skillset that has the potential to be quite useful. Although The Will is described as a monster he’s definitely the kind of monster I can cheer on, especially when he does this to a slimeball pimping out a child.

I’ve intended to start this series for months and now that I have, I can confidently say that I am so hooked! I love this story! You’ll be hearing a lot about this Saga from me in the coming days.

Content warnings include mention of rape and child sexual slavery.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. 

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. 

Collects Saga 1-6.