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.
I love this series. And I trust Vaughan as a storyteller. And I know the world this story is happening in is a dark one, and grim.
That said, this issue is pushing up against the boundaries of what I'll tolerate. There's a reason I don't read The Walking Dead anymore. And there's a line between dramatic storytelling and emotional abuse.
You'd think 9 volumes in, Vaughn would stop shocking me, stop entertaining me, stop making me laugh, stop making me nervous to turn the page, and stop stabbing my soul with his pointy little pen. But nope. <--don't click this unless you've ALREADY read this volume! Seriously. It will ruin your life and/or reading experience if you haven't!
I don't want to give any spoilers and I don't want to be spoiled myself, but a big part of me is hoping that that last little, er, thing that happened doesn't...um, stick? Come on, Vaughn! I'm tender!
Regardless, this was a fantastic volume and highly recommended. Sorry. I need to go be alone for a while now to sort out my feelings.
When Saga isn't sticking a penis in your face, it's driving a dagger through your heart. It continues to be one heck of a ride--not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, nor for the emotionally frail. But, well worth it for everyone else.
something about this volume feels like it's speaking to the world beyond the pages of Saga.
and some of it feels like it’s speaking directly to its readers, knowing that there’s going to be more than a year’s wait for the next part of the story:
Anticipation and dread aren’t opposites, just different versions of the same game. Both involve knowing that something is going to happen, but not knowing when. And whether you end up winning or losing, you at least get to reach a conclusion. There’s always some comfort in that.
this issue should fill you with dread. it is full of dreadful situations for a number of characters.
it is also full of cartoon nudity, more than in any previous issue - there are amorous couplings
self-pleasure, a humiliating nude forced-march, and one epic sploosh resulting in a new tender nickname:
also, this NSFW booty!!!
it’s a very busy, productive issue, plotwise, so it’s hard to choose a starting place for a review, and since it’s all we’ll be getting for such a long time, i’m lazily thoughtfully choosing to hold back so anyone who hasn’t yet grabbed it up in their greedy hands can go into it cold.
i will say that this:
is a poor substitute for the real thing.
and that waiting a year is gonna be tough.
seconded. and amending that sentiment to include EVERY OTHER CHARACTER.
come back soon, okay??
*********************************************** i'm with you, hazel!
yeah, you guys had BETTER take a year off TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE DONE!!!
This is for sure the most emotionally driven volume of Saga yet, which is really saying something considering everything that has happened over the course of all of these issues. I can’t help being invested with each and every character, but this volume just hurts. Especially not knowing when Volume 10 will be released because the creators are taking a break. But this addition to the story was a masterpiece, a painful masterpiece, but a masterpiece nonetheless.
I’ve always said that it is completely genius to have this story be told with Hazel as the narrator, and Volume 9 really showcases that. Just seeing this baby, this toddler, this little girl, be forced to grow up in a world where hatred is bred. While also always being forced to live on the run, while being forced to grow up faster than anyone in the galaxy, while realizing that no one you love is ever safe. My heart breaks for Hazel and heals for Hazel every single page. And I truly think she is one of the best protagonists, of any story, of all time.
As always, Saga is a dark story that has very adult, NSFW content! So, please use caution! Content and trigger warnings for slavery, fatphobic comments, death, murder, talk of past child abuse, and sexual content.
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!
“It takes someone you love to break your heart.”
➽ CHAPTER 49 Ianthe has The Will and has forced him into slavery, while looking for Hazel. Petrichor and Prince Robot are officially a thing, and it’s the best. We get to see Upsher and Doff again, and they are still working on news stories, even off the grid with the gang. They are all on Jetsam, which what appears to be a planet with an abandoned amusement park. And Ghüs is the new babysitter.
➽ CHAPTER 50 Oh boy, sexy times! Ianthe makes “The Help” kill. Squire, Prince Robot’s son, doesn’t want a new body or to leave with Petri and Prince Robot, after they tell their story.
➽ CHAPTER 51 Marko is writing a secret book, that I’m sure is going to have a profound impact in the next volume. Doff is killed, but The Will is finally free, even if all he can see is rage and vengeance for The Stalk.
➽ CHAPTER 52 Squire runs away, but soon runs into Ianthe. Meanwhile, Prince Robot and The Will meet up.
➽ CHAPTER 53 Everyone is dying, The Will appears to have killed Prince Robot. Ianthe is hurt, but Alana is shot. Everything is falling apart.
➽ CHAPTER 54 Marko and the Will have a fight scene to top all other fight scenes. And at the end, it appears that Marko dies. Friends, I don’t even have words. Only tears.
“At least I get to grow old.”
I truly believe that Saga is truly a once in a lifetime series, and this last installment has really left me speechless. This is just such a profound staple in not only graphic novels, but in the entire reading community. There is a reason so many people love this series, and it really proves over and over that no one is safe, nothing is safe, but the story always gets better and better. Okay, I’m off to go cry some more.
DON'T READ THIS. JUST GO ON BEING HAPPY AND PRETENDING EVERYTHING IS OK IN THE SAGA WORLD.
IDK HOW TO REVIEW THIS.
Honestly, this was one of the best volumes of the series, in my opinion, in terms of emotion and characters and relationships. Alana, Marko, Hazel, Sir Robot IV, Squire, Petrichor, Ghus, Upsher, Doff---everyone was together and friendly and it was so much fun to see the dynamics among them. There wasn't anything wrong with this volume. It was great. Funny. Touching. Deep. Beautiful.
But it was heartbreaking. And it was a pretty terrible way to end things before a hiatus, if I'm being honest. You could at least leave your readers with some hope and good feelings! But I digress. It's a great series. I'm not serious when I tell you not to read this one. Just be prepared because it's brutal.
Now I'm going to share some spoiler-filled thoughts. These are no-holds-barred spoilers. I highly recommend you not read these if you haven't read this volume yet but are planning to. You've been warned.
*Note: My original review ended after "IDK HOW TO REVIEW THIS."*
Recommended For: Fans of Vol. 1-8 in Brian K. Vaughan's Saga series. Graphic novel fans and newbies alike who are looking for something fun and different, who like flawed but lovable characters, and who don't mind images of sex, nudity, and violence.
Original Review @ Metaphors and Moonlight["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
“Breaking News: We are all completely fu%%$#ed”--seen on a newscaster robot’s tv computer screen face (and how many of us felt at least in 2018, when this was released, make your own list)
Reread in March, 2022, roughly four years after it was initially published. And to those of you who read these volumes as I did, as issues/volumes came out, no, in case you’re wondering, no, even knowing what is coming in this issue, it does not get better. Way worse. I’m even crying as I write this! And yes, I am now a very late-middle aged (okay, old, damn it) man, and this is a friggin’ comic book series! In the Golden Age of comics, almost eighty years ago, could they have ever imagined it? Oh, I think so, but never quite like this. Maybe this is the Platinum Age of comics.
“War can’t be ended anymore than the rain. All we can do is help each other stay dry”--D. Oswald Heist (the invented favorite author of Markus and Alana)
Original review, 10/5/18, somewhat revised:
So this volume is jaw-dropping in a way that, if anyone on Goodreads spoils it for you, you should probably consider unfriending them. So I won’t spoil it, but this is the Queen of Emotional volumes in an already emotional rollercoaster of a series that moves from hilarity (any two characters talking anytime) to cuteness (Ghus, Hazel) to adult-level graphic sex and profanity to deep family connections. But this was such a tough issue that even the creators are taking a year off from making it! Yes, true!
“Most of the time we don’t even realize we’ve lived through something worth commemorating until long after it's ended”--Hazel
No really important spoilers in what follows! I told you already! I promised!
“Every violent action. No matter how seemingly insignificant, sends ripples throughout the cosmos, inevitably causing more of the same”--Heist, quoted by Marko
One basic point of this series is that violence begets violence. And violence happens in this issue. Several, gut-wrenching times. Including that perpetrated by a character we thought we had begun to know pretty well who surprises us, shall we say. Hazel and Squire fight, too, throughout the volume, and it is sometimes by using damaging words.
Things I liked so much:
*”Our daughter’s biology isn’t a liability. It’s a gift”—Saint Marko, in a meme for our times. *All the Eighties media references, such as “Drop and give me a thousand.” (adjusted for inflation from Animal House) *A scene with Petrichor and Prince Robot, interspecies sex/romance being a hallmark of the series. *The religious concept of transubstantiation as a sci fi trick, a transformation spell, used for witness protection? *Upsher and Doff, our adorable gay journalist couple, “love sick imbeciles,” unh! *The joys and anguish of family, looked at from various angles in this volume *Not all robots are created alike: Squire vs. his father, Sir Robot *Marko as novelist?! *"Anticipation and dread aren’t opposites, just different versions of the same game”—Hazel *Reflections on the nature of fiction as guide to our lives: “Putting new ideas into another person’s head is an aggressive act, and aggressive acts have consequences. Face it, you can be a writer or a pacifist, but you can’t be both.” *"I love that he writes in cursive.” *Magic shrooms *Pinky swears *Chicken fights (in the water, duh) * I love how Staples and Vaughn make complex characters, even in a war where there are clearly enemies
”Anyone can kill you, but it takes someone you know to really HURT you. It takes someone you love to break your heart”—Hazel
*And what is maybe one of the most important things, after all this great writing from Vaughn, and so many great ideas, it is Fiona Staples that now is getting the first author credit in this series. Just awesome invention and execution. There are more stunning visual ideas in this comic series than in ten comics series. Sets the bar for all the budding comics creators everywhere.
And everything changes. Everything. Unforgettably, and I mean it. If you have not read any of it, start the series from the beginning now, you're welcome in advance.
This is the worst kind of betrayal! How did y’all survive that??? Because I feel numb and I’m in denial and I’m not okay! I mean I was able to take everything that was thrown at me from the start to the end (and trust me I survived a lot) but this is just too much! This is taking it so far and I wanna scream that this is not fair because they didn’t just do that. THEY DID NOT!! Long story short, this left me speechless and yes I cried.
I was entertained by this volume. It continues the story in pretty much the same vein as the past few volumes. So, while the overall storyline is very creative and unique, you will not find much in this volume that you have not already seen from this series.
Man, the art is just so out there and interesting. I could probably read this series without any dialogue included and my mind would be blown. In fact, that might be an interesting exercise – determining just what the actual heck is going on without words to help!?!?
Now comes the standard warning to accompany this series: if you don’t like foul language, nudity, or “adult content”, this is not the series for you (I put quotes around “adult content” because from my experience, this means something different to everyone). As I have in the past, I give this disclaimer without opinion or agenda, it is just an FYI for people who may not like that sort of thing and are wondering if they should check this series out. I would say that this particular volume really raised the stakes in this area!
I continue to be entertained so I will continue to come back to this series. Especially when I need a little weird in my life (or a whole lotta weird!)
As always, the artwork is fantastic, the humor caustic and fun, the drama interesting and uncorny and the imagination absolutely mind-blowing. If I say anything more, I’ll be spoiling the story. Can’t wait for Vol 10! Oh, and they should have had a lying cat last week for the Ford/Kavanaugh hearing. It would have slept through the first half and gone stark raving mad screaming “Lying!” during the second half...
It is Sunday, March 10 01: 47 am... And l barely can keep myself to not cry because l will wake up my husband and baby. I am 99% ready to make my way to the bathroom so l can cry in peace... This just broke my heart GOD DAMN IT!
I’m a dennis-shaped ice cube. (Not sure if still calling it a cube then is appropriate. But „I’m an ice dennis“ sounds kinda stupid.)
It’s virtually impossible to review this volume without spoilers, because let’s be honest, it’s all about what happens in the last two issues. And it is quite significant.
So I won’t be getting into any plot details.
This series is great. Everyone should read it. And this volume is no exception. It might break your heart, though.
Unless you are me.
I don’t know, maybe I was putting off reading this for too long, in order to make the wait for the next volume more bearable. However, I’m not sure that’s it. I felt constant dread while I was turning the pages. It was definitely there. And then the ending happened. And no eye-leak. That’s just me right now.
Anyways, I was putting this off for months, and even though I knew something really really bad and significant would happen, somehow no-one let it slip that Luke is Darth Vader’s son. So, thank you, friends, for being awesome.
Where do we go from here? That’s my only concern right now. We’re at the halfway point for this series. It’s not an easy task to keep this awesome now. But somehow I trust Vaughan and Staples to not pull a TWD on us.
And thus we leave the first half of this awesome series behind. And what an emotional rollercoaster it was.
Did I shed a tear this time? No. Because something must be physically wrong with me. But I'd be lying if I'd say it didn't affect me. The ending to this one is a real blow. But at least the wait is over now. Or almost over. One more month.
Buddy read with Nataliya, who may have cried a little on my behalf. Thank you! It was great fun.
2019 Hugo finalist for Best Graphic Story. ____________________________
First of all no one told Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples to write this. I mean no one. I didn't ask for this and I'm sure most readers didn't ask for this. I avoided this volume for years because of how emotionally distraught it supposedly made readers. Well, let me tell you. I cried like a baby. I cried like I knew these characters in real life. I knew I shouldn't have gotten attached to anyone, but when you are provided with such great character development how is that humanly possible? There is literally nothing that I can say about this volume without spoiling it. I'm glad that I waited this long to read it because I'll be able to pick up the next issue relatively soon; however, I feel like this next story arc is going to be pretty rough on all of us. I'm looking forward to being back in this world, but this volume definitely took the breath out of my lungs.
Wow. My heart has been shattered into a million tiny pieces. This volume was heartbreaking and devastating but absolutely phenomenal. This series is nothing less than genius. The writing, the art, the story, the characters... everything is just brilliant. If you haven’t read this series yet, seriously what are you doing with your life??! Kidding... but read it!!!
I can’t believe we have to wait like a year for the next dose of Saga but fair play to Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples for doing what’s best for the comic! I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next volume so it can break my heart all over again!
Also, cool little fact - this is the 100th graphic novel I have read & honestly I’m so glad that 100 was a great one!