“Saga Vol. 3” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics, 2014)

Saga Volume 3
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In the third volume of the award winning graphic novel series, our strange cast of heroes finally make it to the distant planet of Quietus where they hope to meet Oswart Heist, a novelist of some acclaim who once wrote a trashy piece of romance that was supposedly secretly veiled as a story about two star-crossed lovers who should never been together falling in love. It was this book that Alana first read and came to believe to be something true and achievable, and when she met Marko and had him read the book also things took a great turn in their relationship.

A good chunk of this volume is spent in giving some important and useful back story to our main characters, as well as a past love of Marko’s, one Gwendolyn who has joined the small posse of bounty hunters looking to capture the married couple and end their union. Prince Robot is the one who has been tasked to make sure this mission is carried out without any mishaps, and so far he has been less than impressed.

This volume gives some good surrounding story to many of the characters we’ve already met, but in this story like any good one it is not always clear who is ultimately good or evil, because everyone is just so different and fresh and new and has never been seen before, not just in comic book form, but in story form. Volume 3 fills in some important history holes that the reader has been wondering about and keeps them on the edge of their seat with what’s going on on Quietus. It’s one of those stories where you want everyone to be fine and come out alive at the end, but you know that’s not going to be the case.

Originally written on April 19, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

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Saga Volume 1  Saga Volume 2

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“Saga Vol. 2” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics, 2013)

Saga Volume 2
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In the first volume, Hazel, the beautiful child of Alana and Mark – two alien races who have hated each other for generations and are bent on each other’s imminent destruction – got to see what some of the best bounty hunters in the galaxy had to offer, as well as some interesting alien species. Now things get kicked up a notch when she meets family.

As the parents and child continue to travel across the galaxy in the giant tree that is their ship, along with the help of the incorporeal teenage girl who is bonded to Hazel and helping them however she can, they get a surprise welcome from Marko’s parents. Emotions rise as his parents have just magicked themselves onto the ship with supposed good reason, but ultimately they really wish to meet Hazel and introduce themselves as her grandparents. Meanwhile, things are not going well for our bounty hunter friend and his liar cat, but because they’re such interesting characters, the reader feels empathy towards them.

The second volume continues right along after the first, continuing this saga with some new characters that continue to show Staples’ range and ability as a brilliant artist, but also in the power of the story and its diverse cast. This is of course a fantasy world we would never want to live in, but we sure can’t seem to get enough of reading about.

Originally written on April 19, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Saga Volume 2 from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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Saga Volume 1

“Saga Vol. 1” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics, 2012)

Saga Volume 1
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Brian K. Vaughan impressed the world with his fun and bestselling comic book series, Y the Last Man. Now he returns with a new series, partnering up with a female artist once again, this time with Fiona Staples, in Saga. A space opera science fiction original that at heart is a simple story, but is surrounded by a complex world with fascinating characters and a mythology that immediately sucks in the reader and always leaves them wanting more.

Marko is a ram-horned alien while Alana is a moth-winged alien. Their people have been fighting each other for a long time, to the point where their own worlds now choose to fight each other on other planets in distant galaxies. But Marko and Alana are unusual in that they are madly in love with each other. The first volume of Saga opens with the birth of their child and begins to be told from her viewpoint at an older age as she looks back on this tumultuous time.

It is soon discovered that these two opposite aliens not only love each other but have created a supposed abomination and they must be stopped at all costs. And so bounty hunters are employed to end them and cover up this horrific union that should never have happened.

Vaughan and Staples have clearly had a lot of fun creating a unique world with some very strange alien characters that are both interesting and enjoyable, such as a giant cat named Liar Cat, because it always knows when you are lying and will be sure to tell you. After reading this first volume, you won’t be surprised to discover it was one of the biggest selling graphic novels in 2012 and 2013, as well as winner of a number of awards. And thankfully, volume 2 is already out for you to get your hands on.

Originally written on April 19, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Saga Volume 1 from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer Volume 2: No Future For You” by Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughan, and George Jeanty (Dark Horse, 2008)

Buffy Volume 2starstarstar

Buffy and Joss Whedon fans were delighted to discover that there would be a graphic novel version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, continuing on from the end of the show.  But fans also know there are two true slayers currently alive in the Buffyverse, and in No Future For You, with help from writer Brian K. Vaughan (of Y: The Last Man) we get the story on what the other slayer has been up to.

Watcher’s Council extraordinaire Rupert Giles needs the help of Faith, the other slayer who has always seen Buffy as the perfect blond who can do no wrong, while she is a convicted murderer, and has had to fight for everything in her life.  But Giles has a mission for her now: to infiltrate the mansion of a rich family in England and take out a girl who is using all her power and resources to kill slayers and anyone with slayer abilities.  Faith will have to go through a rigorous training process in being a proper English noble.  She will also have her faith tested in being a good person, as she finds she has a lot in common with this girl who wants to put an end to Buffy.

Meanwhile back in the castle where Buffy is, Dawn still has her “giant” problem, Xander is making with the hilarities, while Willow continues to be an awesome witch with a scary amount of power, and there is the strange sigil that continues to have deep and sinister ties.  The graphic novel story continues to be an entertaining tale as good as the original TV series.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on July 26th, 2008 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Runaways Volume 1: Pride and Joy” by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona (Marvel, 2004)

Runaway Volume 1starstarstar

In this first volume of the smash-hit series, Runaways, written by award-winning writer Brian K. Vaughan, which has now attracted the likes of Joss Whedon, we are introduced to a bunch of young teenagers who have little in common and don’t like each other that much.  Every year they are forced to hang out together as their parents meet secretively for some charity event, it is thought.  Except this time, things are a little different.  The kids are older, starting to take an interest in the opposite sex, which they immediately do, and their curiosity is insatiable.  They decide to finally find out what their parents are exactly up to.  Using hidden passages in the house they sneak up on their parents and discover two important things: 1) Their parents are super heroes, and 2) Their parents are not super heroes, but actually super villains.

Vaughan presents a very interesting and unique dynamic.  The teens immediately work on running away from their evil parents and along the way discover unique powers that they possess.  It is an enjoyable and ideal story for young teens or teens of any age who are looking for something in the vein of Teen Titans; but it’s also a very enjoyable story for adults also.  It marks the continuing tangent that Marvel has taken of late in looking into the early lives of their super heroes.

Originally written on September 13th, 2007 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Pride of Baghdad” by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon (Vertigo, 2006)

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When I heard about this title coming out I was immediately interested; apart from it being by the great writer and creator of the award winning Y The Last Man comic book series, the story sounded provocative, and is based on a true story.

The real story is a quick and simple one to tell: with the invasion of Baghdad in 2003, one of the first places abandoned was the zoo and when the bombs and destruction hit, a lot of cages and pens were broken open.  A pride of lions escaped and began walking around Baghdad until they were found by US soldiers who were so shocked they just opened fire before the lions could do anything.  With the mind and pen of Brian K. Vaughn and the beautiful and detailed artwork of Niko Henrichon, this is the pride’s fictional story.

The pride is composed of an aging male, his mother, his mate, and his single cub.  In this world the animals can talk to each other and Vaughn does a great job of capturing attitudes and characters with the different animals.  The pride leave the zoo, after rescuing the cub from a hoard of baboons who were about to tear him apart, and travel the streets of Baghdad, looking in houses and palaces, searching for food.  In one great palace they find a mighty statue of a lion and take spiritual comfort from its magnitude and the respect that humans give it.  In this palace they also find a chained old lion who was a pet, presumably one of Hussein’s sons or family members.  There is also a mighty bear, another pet, who has broken free and there is a great fight between the bear and the lions.  As the inevitable demise of the pride approaches, their last view is of a beautiful sunset on the city of Baghdad and before the cub dies, he gets to see his one and only horizon.

A very sad story, and yet moving in the way the writing and art adds such emotion and feeling to these animals that one can’t help but feel they deserved so much better than their horrible end.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on October 12th, 2006 ©Alex C. Telander.