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.
Brian K. Vaughan is the writer and co-creator of comic-book series including SAGA, PAPER GIRLS, Y THE LAST MAN, RUNAWAYS, and most recently, BARRIER, a digital comic with artist Marcos Martin about immigration, available from their pay-what-you-want site www.PanelSyndicate.com
BKV's work has been recognized at the Eisner, Harvey, Hugo, Shuster, Eagle, and British Fantasy Awards. He sometimes writes for film and television in Los Angeles, where he lives with his family and their dogs Hamburger and Milkshake.
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best graphic novel! what will happen?
the sads shouldn’t have hit me as hard as they did here, since i’d already read more than half of this volume in its single-issue installments, thanks to greg’s generous indulgence of my impatience; presenting me with issues #37-40 back in november. i thought i was prepared for anything this book had to throw at me, but dammmit - issues #41 & #42 had their own griefs in store. seriously - will these people (and assorted creatures) EVER catch a break? this is practically a thomas hardy-level escalation of tragedy, and even though that’s not what she’s talking about here, i had to laugh at this:
because this storyline is indeed, “hardy as shit,” and this was basically me the whole way through:
with a little
‘i can’t take any more scares sorrows!’ thrown in.
obviously, i am going to avoid spoilerses, including spoilerses for previous volumes, but apart from all the heartache, this volume is full of the series’ signature brand of ready-for-tattooing epigrams:
and the parade of old friends, new friends, dead friends, and soon-to-be-dead friends that have made this such an addictive journey, and totally worth all the howling despair, no lie.
plus, we get to witness hazel’s first kiss in all its bittersweet glory:
it’s spectacularly gutting, and i loved every minute of it. okay, except for robot-peen. that's still gross.
and i am going to try really hard to WAIT for the next collected book to come out, instead of giving in to the temptation of the single issues that are too short to really satisfy my intense cravings. oh, wait - do you have something to say?
good, didn’t think so.
********************************************** my goddamned heart.
Still a mind-rape for me. Can't write a review through the tears.
I'm nearly speechless. That ending. Breathtaking.
You know when someone is telling the story right when I want to scream and rage and cry, no matter what the medium. The fact that this is a comic is even more astonishing.
Seriously. This one blew my mind. I've said before that all comics should use this as a standard to create by, and it's no less true now. Indeed, with all these things happening, I'm about ready to start a petition against the writer and the artist to tone it down and give me a breath.
But no. They won't listen to me. They keep bringing the feels to me. What a nightmare.
Well, I gotta admit...I'm relieved. Every single review I've read had the words heartbreaking or tragic in it, so I'd been preparing myself for Hazel to die and somehow this turn out to have been narrated by her ghost or something.
But no. Hazel is fine. Whew! So yeah, not everyone is going to make it out of this one but it's still a cool ride. And I'm looking forward to finding out how both of her parents deal with the aftermath of everything that happens in this book.
I have to admit, Marko and his wishy-washy pacifist thing is really annoying (to me) at this point. I wish he would just say I'm not going to resort to violence unless I have to, instead of yammering on about how he'll never pick up a weapon again for any reason ever...and then picking up a weapon because he's on the run and has to protect his family sometimes. How is not letting a bad person kill your daughter a thing that you struggle with? I fail to see the moral dilemma, so that whole plotline is wearing thin for me.
I don't want to spoil anything plot wise for anyone, but I didn't feel like things moved forward as much in this one. It was more...character based changes? Ehhhhhh. I'm not sure I'm saying it right? Um. You know how in the other volumes they were running or trying to get to Hazel? In this one, they sort of sit still. Until they don't. Ugh. I can't explain it. But there wasn't as much forward momentum to this one.
This was probably the least interesting of the volumes (to me) so far, but in the world of graphic novels, Saga is still leaps and bounds above almost everything else being published today. I mean, everyone reads these. Even people who don't read comic books read these. Why? Because even my least favorite storyline is better than the vast majority of stuff out there, and still worth 4 stars.
This series continues to confound and confusticate, but the quality of the storytelling remains high. Fiona Staples seems to have become the lead storyteller, and her art drives things forward in this volume, but BKV’s presence remains undeniably strong.
I never know what to expect from this book, and I’m never disappointed (except for when I am occasionally disappointed, so I guess that’s not entirely true). Still, I’ve stuck with it this long, and the highs are always very high, so I’m not bailing now.
Bring on the next volume…only, if it’s not too much trouble, maybe a little less bleak next time, eh?
2019 review: Running out of petrol but together with fam, Petri and... Sir Robot; the only seemingly safe haven is Sophie's birthplace the planet of perpetual war, Phang.
Heralding back to the earlier volumes, this is at heart a concept and art driven masterclass as we get to see a new planet (for us), war, new friends, new foes, people maturing, all under the unique creative guardianship of Fiona Staples(praise be her name). Art = FIVE stars. Story FIVE stars. The story is just galloping along now, it has a life of its own, such unparalleled use of colours, contours and characters that all just jump off of the page. It's like watching 2D television! 10 out of 12. Five Star Read.
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.
I was worried going into this considering the fact that it's been a hot minute since I read the previous volume. But I needn't have worried, the world Vaughan has created in the Saga series is one easily slipped back into. And if I could sum up this read in one panel, I think Hazel said it best:
This review contains *spoilers*.
So let's jump right into business:
• We're in the middle of war throughout these issues, so people are being killed off left and right... And it was just utterly heart-shattering. So many characters I've grown attached to were taken from me far too soon. • Speaking of, I'm still shell-shocked that my all-time favorite sacrificed herself for the "greater good" all thanks to one of my least favorite characters:
I get choked up every time I think about this. • There's also a lot of tension simmering between everyone, which is completely understandable under their strained circumstances, but still hard to take in.
Oh, I definitely was. But Hazel and Izabel have such a powerful dynamic with one another that it physically hurt me to see them like this... for the last time, nonetheless.
Hazel has experienced so much damn grief in her young life, and I just can't bear to see her hurt anymore. It's like every time she gains a new positive force in her life, she ends up losing someone or something else. Her commentary, though heartbreaking, remains to be one of my favorite aspects about this series.
• On a more uplifting note (if that's even possible with Saga), the art in here is as stunning as ever:
• The humor in this series remains to be superb in lightening up the blue mood.
P.S. I'm forevermore grateful those bastards in the red coat got what they deserved. • I was beyond ecstatic to have finally met Gwendolyn's wife!! Simply a master of words. • And to end this list, I adored how the first issue in this volume had some lively fanart included at the end, especially this one for Izabel:
I agree wholeheartedly with Hernandez about Izabel, particularly the very first line which couldn't have better described her: "Izabel is the perfect representation of three things I've always felt reassured by: fluorescent pink, guardian ghosts, and intestines."
So with all that happened in this single volume, I’m still having to wrap my mind around everything. I genuinely feel like Hazel in this panel:
If nothing else, Vaughan knows how to keep me on the edge better than anyone else. And as usual, I cannot wait for what's in store next.
Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buyingSaga, Vol. 7 , just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!
“Nothing in the universe was safe from the endless war between mom’s planet and dad’s moon…”
This seventh installment is truly a masterpiece, and one of the most impactful graphic novels I’ve ever read. The ending of this is true and utter perfection, and the emotional range that Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are able to evoke is truly something I don’t have words for. This but seventh volume truly shows why Saga is one of the best graphic works in existence.
And this volume really talks about heaven and hell and believing and not knowing. All six issues really have the theme of what if there is something better after this life? What if there is something worse? What if there is nothing at all? And we get to see so many people live their lives feeling very differently on the spectrum, while also seeing it shape their lives entirely.
We get to see some amazing new characters in this, but we also are forced to say goodbye to many. All the volumes in this world can get pretty dark, but this one especially has some major content and trigger warnings for sexual content, violence, attempted suicide, death, murder, an animal death, talk of miscarrying, and war themes. Please use caution going into this bind-up.
And it feels extra heartbreaking because you only want the best for these characters, after seeing them go through such horrific things for the last six volumes, all because two people, from two different races, decided to fall in love.
As always, I'm now going to break down each chapter (single issue) in this bind-up. I mostly do this so I can go back and refresh what has happened in which specific issue. There will be SPOILERS, so please do not continue if you have not read this graphic-novel or the ones leading up to this volume!
➽ CHAPTER 37 We get to see Alana (who is very pregnant), Marko, Hazel, Izabel, Petri, and Sir Robot all together on their latest ship. But they desperately need to refuel, so they go to a new place called Phang, where they meet Jabarah, Kurti, and their whole big family! We also get to see Gwendolyn, Lying Cat, and Sophie (who is ten now), on a new adventure together!
➽ CHAPTER 38 Hazel and the family end up staying for six months on Phang! And they become very close with Jabarah, Kurti, and their family! We get to see The Will meet up with Velour (Gwendolyn’s wife), because he is trying to track her down. And we get to see a new villain, The March, who is a two headed alien, who kills Izabel and I’m forever crying.
➽ CHAPTER 39 The Will is fired from his freelancing job and is just doing worse and worse mental health wise. Hazel and everyone else are trying to deal with the loss of Izabel. And this volume really starts the questions about an afterlife, and what people are willing to do in the name of it.
➽ CHAPTER 40 Gwen is selling or trading a very mysterious box that is going to do very bad things. Prince Robot is spiraling worse and worse, and finds some drugs that helps remind him of everything he as lost, and he makes some really poor choices.
➽ CHAPTER 41 Phang is going to crash into a timesuck, so Marko and Alana are desperately trying to get everyone together leave. The Will meets up with Sophie and the gang, and gives her the choice to come with him. Sophie stays with Gwendolyn, and Lying Cat doesn’t want to leave Sophie, so she stays, too.
➽ CHAPTER 42 Marko shoots a weapon, but it’s going to really impact him down the road, but there was no other choice. The Will’s dog dies, and I was not prepared. And then Jabarah decides to keep her family on a dying thing because she has faith in a higher power. So, Hazel and the gang are forced to leave, but they lose so very much.
Again, this entire volume is about faith and believing and loss and how each person will live their lives differently surrounding those three things. The last pages of this? They broke me. I had tears streaming down my face as those heartbreaking black pages. Again, the emotions this story is able to evoke from me is something I will never have words for. But I love these characters, this art, and this beautiful story with my entire existence.
"And few adventures ended worse than this one"--Hazel
“If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, then a family is more like a rope. We're lots of fragile little strands, and we survive by becoming hopelessly intertwined with each other” –-Hazel
Right, this is not a comics series defending American exceptionalism and isolation and hating on our enemies as the way to run a planet.
Though it does take a complicated stance on pacifism in the character of Marko, who is being pursued by hired guns because he has married and had a child with a member of the enemy. Romeo and Juliet, exactly.
Reread late February 2022.
Original review 5/4/17, with some additions:
Wow. Really moving volume--that could function, they say, as a stand-alone, but why would you do that?! Read the whole thing!--that takes place on the planet Phang. No spoilers, but I read this last night in one sitting, having heard it would be a powerful volume, and it was. It really was. Whew. Woke up with a bit of an emotional hangover from it. Hazel and family, reunited, go for emergency fueling on this war-torn planet, where Wreath and Landfall factions are fighting to the death. Our favorite family shows up but it turns out it is harder to get fuel than they thought it would be, of course--and stays for several months, making friends with and taking care of and being family to some adorably cute and vulnerable Meercat-like creatures that are literally starving. Not our children? Can't say that, Staples and Vaughn insist. The scales of violence and cute (also Hazel, Ghus, even Sophie) seem quite balanced.
So on the planet there is obviously violent friction; within the traveling family and friends, there is also friction. The differences within the traveling company threaten violence, but there is some reflection here about the necessity of working across long held differences for the survival of the planet.
This is a volume about violence. And family. And the fragility of connection. And refugees. And the ethical necessity of taking care of refugees even if it inconveniences you. And Hazel and Izabel's relationship takes a central role in this one. Whew.
And most of the characters are razor-sharp witty; when (the half-bodied ghost) Hazel's babysitter Izabel is out trying to secure fuel she is confronted by a two-headed Freelancer, The March, and says, faux-innocently, "Oh, is this about my unpaid student loans?" which every former student in the USA will wince/smirk at; even after you die, they come to garnish your wages.
You may wonder if this is another volume where little really happens? Well, this is not one of those volumes. Real and powerful things happen, and some of them leave you reeling. And the art of Staples leads the way in helping us feel all the necessary emotional resonance. The last few pages, whew. Just whew.
I am very dialed into this storyline now. For the first few volumes, it was so bizarre that, while I enjoyed it, it didn't click with me. Now, it is just as wonderfully weird, but I now completely enthralled.
I don't think this series will be for everyone and, in my opinion, the content tends to be very "adult". What that means exactly might differ from person to person. But, just remember that going in, and know that chances that things will shock you will last throughout.
Wild, shocking, weird, poetic, violent - all words for this series. But, more than anything - fantastic!
It's been almost a year since I've read Saga 7 and I missed the characters. I do not have too much too say about this volume except that it is as good as the previous ones (if not better) and , unfortunately, pretty sad.
Once again, Vaughn and Staples have delivered an incredible new volume of Saga. Finally reunited, Hazel's family desperately needs fuel and has to make a hazardous stop on the comet Phang. Bounty hunters abound such as the splendid Gwendolyn and Sophie who now has the Lying Cat, The Will who has run into some tough luck, and some new ones like The Match. Not to mention The Prince freaking out while Marko deals with his pacifism in a situation where his family is threatened. Most importanty, will Hazel get a brother? The artwork is stunning, the story is great - this series just continues to get better with every installment!
“The more you care about someone, the more likely it is that your eventual parting of ways will be as sudden as it is baffling.”
Saga is the one graphic novel series that I care more about than any others. Mind you, it's not like I'm a graphic novel expert. I have read Paper Girls, Vol. 1, Giant Days, Vol. 1 and Lumberjanes, but none of them fascinate me like Saga does. Maybe because it's so ruthless but simultaneously so full of hope. Now, what really does not help the case are the countless, mean and scary statements by the narrator that foreshadow a great many terrible things. And what also did not help is that my favourite character just died. Not cool. This series is far from over and there will be a lot of suffering in the future. Yay.
Saga continues to impress me. It has lost none of its awesomely weird energy.
And this is by far the best volume in the series for a very long time. The storytelling here is right on point.
I’m very critical of comic books at times because I often find them very linear and formulaic, often more so that novels. Many of the superhero-based stuff from marvel and dc tend to follow a certain pattern and become predictable and repetitive with their relaunches and different versions of the same character told in different ways. The point is, I feel like Saga is so original. It totally stands out for me. And, in all honesty, the only comic book series that beats it is the glorious Sandman.
One of the things I like most about this series is the colourfulness of it, the colourfulness of the characters and the pages. I’d love to see Saga made into an animation series because it just feels so cinematic. Not many comics quite have this quality. This feels like it jumps out of the pages with its laser beams and dramatic fights. There's a lot of potential here.
I'm finally starting to catch up with this, just two volumes left until I'm up to date with it. I feel like this will only continue to get better.
2016 was the year of the graphic novel for me--between Fables and Monstress, I was well and truly hooked, but it was Brian K. Vaughan's SAGA that blew my mind and showed me that, similar to (good) poetry, graphic novels could pack all the insights and feelings of a first person POV full-length novel into a third of the pages and an even smaller fraction of the words.
So I've been looking forward to Volume 7 ever since I binge read 1 - 6 last July.
I'm actually pretty proud of myself for waiting for the last six individual installments to be bundled together instead of snacking on the smaller episodes each month. I wasn't sure I could do it, but I'm glad I did, b/c combined they pack one hell of punch.
And by "one hell of a punch," I mean that Vaughan broke my heart 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, SEVEN times.
I started taking screenshots after the third time, which, incidentally, was less than halfway through it, to keep track.
It wasn't just a heart-pummeling either. Vaughan likes to do this thing that most people would call foreshadowing, but that's kind of like saying Karen Marie Moning likes to end her books with cliffhangers (a gross understatement).
If you're familiar with SAGA, I'm sure you remember that bomb Hazel dropped about her parents however many volumes ago it was. This time it wasn't quite that bad--my chest didn't feel like there was a gaping void where my heart used to be--but the sense of impending doom made me feel like that bird that panicked and took flight in BAMBI.
You know . . . the one that got shot.
There was also a horribly awkward plot thread involving Sir Robot and his amorous feelings for Alana. #grossman
Now would be a good time to mention the adult nature of this series. There's an ambiguity to SAGA's designation as a "graphic novel" that is not for the faint of heart.
I'm fairly vocal about my dislike of being crass or vulgar out of lack of creativity and/or for the shock factor, and I don't feel that's what's happening here. Is it still uncomfortable at times? Definitely. But that's kind of the point. LIFE is uncomfortable, and at its roots, SAGA is about life.
As for how it ended, well, you'll just have to experience that for yourself, and as is always the case with an ongoing series, there are several big unanswered questions, like:
What the hell was in that box?
And something about the context surrounding Marko and Petri's argument over who should go after Izabel made me think ze wasn't referring to either hir criminal status or hir transgenderness when Marko voiced his concern about hir being recognized. Or maybe I'm reading into things b/c we know virtually nothing about hir past. *shrugs awkwardly*
Regardless, Volume 7 of SAGA does not disappoint, and it continues to be the very best of what graphic novels have to offer, IMO. Highly recommended to the WHOLE (adult) WORLD.
I'm devastated. When we started this tonight I thought we would probably be reading volume 8 immediately afterwards. But I can't right now. This needs processing. Just when you thought this series couldn't be more fun, it punches you in the heart. Hard.
Buddy read with Nataliya. I think we are both a little sad now. The good news, though? We found some Saga figurines on Amazon. Need to have one of those. :)
Alana and Co. have to land on the comet Phang, to refuel their ship. It’s a world that’s consumed by war. And therefore not exactly the place you want to take your young family. Especially not while you‘re pregnant and your five year old daughter is becoming a little challenging.
Right? But then for the most part there’s actually not that much happening. It’s all a little slow-moving in this volume. The growth and changing of the characters is still interesting. It’s just not exactly the most entertaining volume in this overall fantastic series.
But then Vaughan and Staples turn it up a notch or two in the last two chapters.
And that ending was a real killer. A timely reminder of how much the two make us care for their characters. Bumped up my rating to 4 stars. Not my favorite volume in the series. Still good.
This was the saddest volume so far. I can't even talk about it because I'm just so speechless. It definitely picked up the pace, the story moved on quite a bit and the writing and drawings were good as usual. At one point, I actually shouted "NOOOO" and scared the crap out of my family so prepare yourself for this volume! I'm so excited for the next volume so I can find out what happens next!
That ending. That goddamn ending. Hit me worse than all the sucker punches of cliffhangers from before.
But on a brighter note, I'm so so happy to be reunited with my favourite gang of craven deserters masquerading as peacemongers!
And precious new ones too...
As always, Saga continues to blow my expectations through the roof with its nonstop action, wit and grit.
Characters come and characters go but not one fails to leave a mark in your heart, no matter how big or small. That's what I like best about this series: having an exciting, unique story is one thing, but carrying a host of fleshed out, loveable characters too throughout it all?
Hats off to you, Brian K. Vaughan.
You're even starting to make me fall in love with Prince Robot. PRINCE ROBOT.MASS-MURDERING CHILD-KILLER PRINCE ROBOT. Seeing a flustered Prince Robot with his attraction towards Alana was eaaasily a highlight of this volume.
(P.S. THAT COVER IS FRICKIN' GLORIOUS ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ) )["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
A few entertaining moments, but not much really happened to advance the plot. The characters were pretty stagnant in their locations and actions considering the amount of time that passed. Some new characters were introduced only to have their part in the story end very quickly.
We've reached the point in this review where Trina makes the same complaints about the nudity.
Be aware that there's a giant d**k pic on page 3. The series sexualizes the female form in a voyeristic way and you might think showing male nudity is equal treatment, but if that's the case then they need to work on their portrayal. It's definitely shown as a symbol of power while the women are shown as sex workers or fantasies that serve the men. It's sexist.
I know I make a similar prudish complaint every time, so you may wonder why I continue this series. Well, Hazel, Alana, Petri, Sophie, and Lying Cat live in my heart and I can't leave them.
I am losing a bit of interest in the series now that I'm having to wait on each volume to come out. I might be better off waiting until the series is finished to continue because the story is easier to keep up with when you can binge read (or at least that was my experience with the first few volumes).
2022 Update: I’m telling y’all this series is iconic. There isn’t much that I can say in this review without spoiling a whole lot but if anything this series definitely taught me not to get attached to any characters. It picks up exactly where the last volume left off but tackles some more interesting and complex themes. I was extremely interested in the way that religion was discussed as well as the concept/idea of living and remaining in the past instead of moving forward. It’s clear that Marko struggles with indulging in violence but has to do so when his hand is forced. It speaks to the idea that conscientious objection isn’t as black and white as it may seem. The artwork was still AMAZING and I can’t wait to dive into the next volume.
I'm so happy I finally got to this volume and I must say that it was heartbreaking. I had no idea where it was going to lead but damn that conclusion was a killer. I absolutely love the artwork! And the story is getting more intense! I'm actually thinking about re-reading the series soon!
Overall, this is another solid installment within the Saga series. But compared to the others, I don't feel like it totally lived up to them. Of course, I'm not saying that because it was bad - it totally wasn't at all. I just felt like it was far less action packed.
Should you read it? If you've read the others, I doubt that's even a question. Absolutely. Yes. Without question. And if you havent read the others, go read them too. This is a fantastic graphic series that I think anyone and everyone can find something to love in. Of course, it's not exactly PG or safe-for-work, so if you're easily offended then pass on this one.