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 2018! what will happen?
When did you first know that you’d give up your life for someone? Okay, maybe you’ve never felt that way, but parents usually say that about their offspring, right? Personally, I think it’s almost always a dumb idea to sacrifice your own existence for others. Or worse, for some “cause.” If we were all a little more selfish instead of being in such a hurry to defend everything to the death, the universe would be a much less scary place.
there is so much in this one, it makes my head spin. and for the first time, i’m deeply glad i didn’t read these as individual comic book issues. #43-#46 are excellent and i would only have been frustrated by how short they were and how cliffhanger-y their ends, but #47 and #48 would have felt like total letdowns on their own, just because of who’s there, who’s not there, and as a contrast to how very strong the first four segments of this collection were. and yes, i gave the entire volume five stars despite the last two being less shiny, but i’m terrible at math and -oh no! are those dung people?
basically, the inclusion of dung people rounds any book up to an automatic five stars.
but there are plenty of other things here helping earn that five stars.
also, there are so many wonderful moments of underplayed reactions throughout this series, but there are some particularly funny ones this time out
and hazel’s fumbling attempts at cussin’ are endearing enough
but not as endearing as the contrast between what her parents identify as the teaching moment
all of the abortion town/badlands parts were handled so well - providing a variety of cultural perspectives on the abortion issue that are consistent with other things we know about the values of these different realms, plus some insight into the individuals involved, and a perfect balance of heartbreaking stuff and … less heartbreaking stuff
obviously, hazel is great here, she always is, but she’s also wrestling with some pretty big questions that no one really has the answers for.
petrichor is outstanding in this one; she gets to be maternal and brave and fierce and vulnerable and horny and so many other things, including deeply relieved
and she does give good advice
…you are unlike anyone who has ever existed, and that makes you exactly like everyone who has ever existed.
she's closer than anyone else to being able to understand hazel's state of mind, and if we had to lose that other hazel-helper, i'm glad petrichor is there to pick up the slack.
and let the record show i am furious at this bitch’s...interior design choices and if she goes ANYWHERE near lying cat, i will draw myself into a little cartoon and breach the panel’s boundaries to cut her into little pieces.
just try me.
OH GOD SO GOOD!
real review coming but if this series ever ends, i might lose my mind. never stop, please.
Warning: Spoilers for the previous volume! But I'm going to try my hardest not to spoil anything from this one, ok?
Ok, if you read the last volume, you know that Alana's baby didn't make it. So, once the shock wears off, what exactly happens next? Now, I know this is touchy territory for a lot of people, but Vaughn went there anyway. Late-term abortion. If nothing else, you probably heard the sound bites about during the last US election. Good times, good times... Personally, I am 100% for late-term abortions. And for those of you out there that actually believe that means doctors pull 9 month old healthy babies from wombs and put them into a wood chipper, then I doubt anything I or anyone else could say will make a difference. But. For the rest of you? Here's why someone who has had 4 unwanted pregnancies, but didn't get abortions for any of them (*waves to kids*), would support another woman's right to choose to end her pregnancy late in the game. Because I couldn't imagine how horrible and hard it would be to keep carrying my dying baby inside of me for months. Months! And you know your child won't survive. But you can't help them, and you know that your child's suffering hasn't even begun yet. Won't begin, until you give birth to them. Life is cruel like that sometimes. Children die. And parents grieve...for the rest of their lives. I personally believe that if you are ever in that situation and want to carry the baby to term, then that's your choice. But I also believe that a woman should have the option to begin the grieving and healing sooner.
At any rate, I thought Vaughn dealt with this subject in a respectful way.
The stuff with The Will was short but still made an impact on the story. You get a peek at his origin story, while also adding another potentially explosive new personality into the mix!
I love Petrichor. Even if she is a tad grumpy. But she gets to shine like a badass during Vol. 8, and there are some interesting developments that...well, spoilers. Sorry.
Due to the nature of Alan's pregnancy, there's a rather huge, and spoilery, shock in store for everyone. Again...sorry.
Oh, and you know how I wasn't quite as moved at the end of the last volume, while all the rest of you were crying so hard you had snot bubbles coming out of your nose? Well. The panel below got me. I read that scene and I made this choking noise out loud. huup-huup-errk-gaak-uuuuh
Goddammit, Saga! You're ruining my tough-girl image!
Another excellent volume and (as always) highly recommended.
Hell yes! God I LOVE LOVE LOVE Saga! The artwork, the storyline, the characters and monsters, the absurdity and yet the wonderful social commentary under the surface all works marvelously. In Vol 8, things are just as interesting and quirky and sexy and violent as in the seven preceding volumes but this one is particularly satisfying in how It brings everyone together near the end. I hope this series never ends because it is truly one of the greatest comic series going today. I have read loads of other ones in the sci-fi, superhero, and fantasy realms, but Saga just takes everything a notch higher and faster and never panders or condescends. Between the consistency in the storyline, the creativity of the characters, the engaging personalities...there is just so much depth and wonder here that you have to read it yourself to appreciate it. Still the best.
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.
Trying to gather together my scattered thoughts regarding this newest volume in the Saga series is turning out to be rather hard, so I opted for making this bullet point list below:
(Spoilers from here.)
• The start of the journey took us to Abortion Town, after the unfortunate events of the last volume, where solid commentary was present in the precarious situation.
• This lullaby tribute to our most iconic babysitter, Izabel:
• The emotional bond between Hazel and "make-believe" Kurti. This is what this volume was truly about: focusing on fleshing out character-based storylines, which is incidentally how I like my stories best.
This moment of impact... She's maturing at a rapid pace.
This girl has known too much loss in her young life.
• Which then leads me back to Alana having to suffer through her miscarriage; it was utterly hard-hitting. Ultimately, she's one the most formidable and fearsome protagonists I've encountered in my reading of graphic novels.
Hazel's narration throughout was particularly grounding.
• And last but not least, I have to mention that the completion of this volume was spectacular. I love how everything came together and connected seamlessly. Plus, the gorgeous artwork by Fiona Staples that brings the world and characters within to life.
Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buyingSaga, Vol 8, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!
“One day, a boy decided to break the rules. And that boy would become my brother”--Hazel
(You don't know what this means, and the implications of this, until the very last page).
So I am in the process of rereading all the volumes, more than four years later, and in case you are wondering, the feels are more profound when you have a fuller realization of everything that is happening, so I encourage you to reread these, at least before volume ten arrives, supposedly in August 2022?
Original review, 12/17/2017, with some small edits and revisions throughout:
Saga is clearly one of the greatest comics series of all time, sustaining an impressive critical and popular reception over years. And it is remarkable in part because, while it just looks like a space opera, on the surface, it pushes various envelopes in the process. Volume 7 was powerful, an event of the year in comics, with a sad loss I won’t be specific about, exactly. And now volume 8 deals with the aftermath of the volume 7’s loss, and that makes this once again one of the most powerful volumes of the series, in what were for me with surprising and original turns.
So along the way, Vaughn and Staples are at turns profane, hilarious, and heartbreaking, as they deal with hot-button political issues, including miscarriage, and abortion, all of which are of course sensitive personal and political issues today, issues that deeply divide and pain many of us. How can they speak to these issues in a fresh and useful way? Well, they do, heart-rendingly, with originality and a sense of closure.
We get a certain portion of (humorous) shock and the profane:
*The volume opens with Alana and Sir Robot at the entrance of Abortion Town, which I might make some readers who do not trust Vaughn just close the book. Can any other book anywhere have that shocking opening?! And then turn you right around and make you care, regardless of where you are on the political continuum on this topic?!
*In that "profane" category, we are introduced to the idea of “dung people”(animated feces?). (Just because they can, and I'll say, it's an act of misdirection to set you up for some of the truly moving things that happen later.
*A funny scene with cunnilingus (Apple had censored a gay oral sex scene in 2013, so I am sure they thought: Why not see if we again yank the chain again? Similarly, as some people didn't like public breastfeeding a few years ago, Staples puts a close-up of a huge breast nursing Hazel on the cover. Funny? So maybe these images can offend some, but at this point, they can have their fun and know most readers will not cry out in protest.
*Petrichor praying earnestly for. . . sex? Petrichor goes up in everyone's estimation in this volume, for sure. And then there are moments with Sir Robot. You don't like trans folks? You don't like rich royals? Staples and Vaughn put them together and make you care about them. Yep, we find people to like across the political spectrum, all kinds.
There are some other really cool ideas in this one:
* “Forecasting” as a special ability, that allows us to experience Hazel’s “brother.” This would seem to be a power like prescience, but in this case it creates a simultaneously anguished and moving set of events I just can't spoil for you.
*We are introduced to the concept of an endwife (instead of a midwife), which maybe is a little like a hospice nurse, I guess, but I liked how they use it here.
*Oh, and you were wondering, above: Does Petrichor get an answer to her prayer? Gotta read it, but again, what happens is not obvious to anyone unless you expect the unexpected.
*There’s cameos of some characters you have missed lately: Lying Cat! And Ghus, of course!
*You may know that Saga is a kind of tribute to Star Wars, and you may also know that the westerns George Lucas grew up reading and watching created part of the foundation for his epec series. So it is kind of cool that this volume is conceived as a western, with drawling locals.
I was in this reading much more moved than the first read. Our favorite family Markus, Alana, and Hazel is central, and so connected, we care about them so much. And the scenes with Kurti and Hazel, maybe especially the last scene: Uh. I may not have any actual experience with forecasting--though I have certainly imagined futures of people who no longer live; I have day- and night-dreams of meeting and talking with them--but I do have some painful experiences with child/fetus loss, and in many ways with many family and friends. This thread/sequence was a very moving sequence, let me just say that. It has great surprises in it, and the ending is terrific. Read it!
If you’re interested in reading Saga, you’re about as likely to jump in at Vol. 8 as I am to wax my bikini line (now THERE’S a visual no one anywhere ever in the history of the world ever anywhere ever never ever needed), so, really, you’d be primarily interested in my take on this most recent volume if you’ve read Saga previously. So, I’ll say this: Vol. 8 is Saga at its Saga-est, which means it’s by turns irreverent, disgusting, offensive, pulse-pounding, heartwarming, weird, addictive, and occasionally annoying.
If you made it through the prior seven volumes, you’ll want to keep going. If you stopped somewhere after two or three, stick with it—the series has its flaws, but it’s one of the more interesting and engaging things bopping around on the (sort of) mainstream comic circuit these days.
Also, on the plus side, no massive and veiny robot schlongs this time around.
Who would have thought a comic about love during a massive cosmic war would tackle so many social issues occurring today? In this volume we get a commentary into what could happen if Roe vs. Wade is overturned. Plus, some insight into what life as a transgender person is like. Oh, and poop people!
Saga continues to impress and shock. This series is definitely not for everyone and I feel like this issue went farther when it comes to controversial issues and content than any previous issue. It makes it one heck of a ride, but proceed with caution if you offend easily!
For me, the controversial content (which I cannot specify without spoilers) is presented in a fascinating and moving way. It is not always easy to weave sensitive content into a story, but this volume handles two or three hot button topics pretty perfectly.
The art continues to be fantastic: detailed, beautiful, at times grotesque, always wonderful to look at. I am so glad that this series has kept up a high standard of illustration through eight volumes.
Graphic novel fans, sci-fi fans, fans of stories that do not hesitate to shock in order to make a statement - you must all read this series!
This is nicely setting up volume 9, I guess. Although some people may wish it all ended here. But when everything seems to be going swimmingly life usually throws you a curve ball. It's just what life does.
For me sometimes the plot moved too swiftly here. Occasionally it felt like some things were brushed over or obstacles were moved out of the way too conveniently. So, yeah, probably not my favorite volume. But that one panel with Hazel and Kurti on the sofa... I got a little emotional there. Overall this was still pretty great. On to volume 9.
Buddy read with Nataliya, who's one of those people that wished it would have ended here, I suppose.
My vote for this year's Goodreads Choice Award for Best Graphic Novel. (Well, after my write-in vote didn't make it.)
4.5 stars and the slight edge over Vaughan's Paper Girls Vol. 4. Another series I enjoy more and more but ultimately don't feel the same love for as I do for this one.
This volume had just the right amount of action, heartbreak, cuteness and oddball humor.
Our favorite young family is in desperate need of some time to heal. But first there are more challenges ahead. Of course I'll be with them every step of the way.
Since this is the eighth volume, from here on out spoilers for the previous books will be inevitable.
If you're still reading you hopefully already know that sadly Alana's baby died in her womb. Now she's trying to have an abortion. If that wasn't hard enough already, she can suddenly cast a spell that brings her never born child to life. But not really alive. It's more like a manifestation of a possible future. And it comes at a cost. But seeing Hazel interact with her brother's ghost makes it even harder to let go.
Meanwhile The Will makes himself a new friend that adds to his already considerable amount of problems, Petrichor's character development takes a step forward, Hazel is as sweet and cheeky as ever and Ghüs and Robot Boy have some meaningful conversation and ... well, that would be a spoiler.
Oh this volume was so beautiful and in so many ways so damn sad. I cannot believe that we’ve gotten to this point in the series. There isn’t much that I can explicitly talk about because of spoilers but once again I feel as though Vaughn challenges our black and white perceptions of certain topics and forces us to look at those same topics from a variety of lenses. I’m nervous about reading the next volume because I know that after the faint glimmer of hope I felt in seeing the final panels of this volume it’s most likely going to come crashing down. We have so many storylines at work at this point and I’m interested in seeing how they’re all going to be tied together and what characters we’re going to lose in the process. There is so much character growth and changes that I found myself actively enjoying a character that initially despised. My heart warmed during so many moments in this story and I know it’s all going to come to end. This is such a great comic series!
I loved this volume and everything that came with it! WHEW, it's got me hyped! This is one of the best comics, like no doubt about it. Art = amazing. Story = amazing. If you're not reading this comic, you need to drop what you're reading and start now. You won't regret it!
I love Saga so much !! someone please send a defibrilator !!
alright, short review because I have no energy. While this graphic novel felt especially fast and the plot has begun to meander a bit, my investment in the characters - and pure enjoyment of the story - truly brought this one forward for me.
I also unfortunately feel that several of my favorite classes are getting less page time. Gwen, Sophie, and Lying Cat are still my favorites, and they had no pagetime here. Our current squad - Marco, Alana, Hazel, Petrichor, King Robot, his son, and Gus - just does not compel me the same way they do. More Gwen and Sophie and Lying Cat, please.
But overall, I found this volume entertaining - I mean, what can I say, they take twenty minutes to read each - and am looking forward to continue this series next year.
Saga Vol.7 ended with our characters ruining away from Planet Phang and its destruction and with Alana miscarrying her baby after a dangerous confrontation that nearly killed her. I knew that as Vol.8 will build on the events of the previous one that it will be a roller coaster of emotions and I was completely right.
In this Volume, The family goes to another planet called Previous so they can remove the Fetus from Alana’s womb because it’s just killing her slowly. But things don’t go as planned and sooner the family find themselves fighting new enemies on every turn and corners.
Before going any further in this review, be careful picking this one up cause It deals with Miscarriage and how it affects the family and also there’s talk of abortion so If you think it could be something you can’t handle , also always trigger warning for violence, torture and shooting a pregnant lady.
So what I love about this series is how it doesn’t leave me anytime to feel relieved or take a breath, it’s intense, it’s bloody and it’s brilliant with its intricate plots and well written characters. But in this particular Volume, there is this emotional punch that I didn’t get in the previous ones, I liked the interactions between Hazel and the vision of her brother and the thief of loss and grief is heavy on this Vol.
But The ending is really hopeful and beautiful and had this moment that I’ve been waiting for a long time, The narration also gave me Goosebumps but as much as I find the ending satisfying and uplifting, I have this feeling of dread that I can’t shake. I can’t wait to read the next Vol but at the same time, I’m scared to pick it up.
I fear I cannot possibly be objective about this series any longer, I love it so much. For any fan left traumatized and/or depressed after reading Volume 7, you'll be relieved to hear Volume 8 is a much lighter and more hopeful adventure. There are still bittersweet moments, but not of the acutely devastating kind.
Vaughan and Staples have gone Wild West this time around and placed our intrepid crew in an arid (and possibly dangerous) western-esque landscape. Petrichor has stepped up and has become an irreplaceable and totally kickass supporting character. Even Sir Robot is morphing into something increasingly likeable. The story arc is painted across a smaller canvas this time making everything feel much more intimate. To round things out, there's more The Will and Lying Cat, and more Ghus who I have missed!
Fans won't be disappointed with Saga's latest entry. For me, this series just keeps getting better and better. Or I'm just a junkie who's completely hooked perpetually jonesing for my next Saga fix.
Ugh this series was so good!! It had so much diversity and inclusion! Omg and Alana with her post-pregnancy belly sag/stretch marks was awesome! This series tackled some controversial social issues on such a remarkable way. I loved it! I loved every single syllable of it! Full RTC!
Actual rating 4.25 stars or even higher Let's play a game: let's think of as much synonym as possible to the word Good" - This was Good - Exceptional - Great - Favorable - Marvelous - Positive - Satisfying - Superb - Valuable - Wonderful So I think you get the idea guys... I don't know how I can be surprised every single effing time If I would recommend a single comic series then it would be this without a doubt 8 volumes and it is still going strong. Wow, just wow Comment any other positive words you can think of for fun :)
THE LAST ISSUE WAS SO CUTE. Saga is the gift that keeps on giving. Such an improvement since vol 7, too. The biggest highlight to me was the introducing of the new ship 🖤 Overall, beautiful & exciting.