Blog Tour – Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl (Review & Giveaway)

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I am so excited to be kicking off the BLACK WIDOW: FOREVER RED blog tour with my review! Before I get to it, let me tell you a bit about the book.

Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret StohlRelease Date: October 13, 2015

Pages: 304

Publisher: Marvel Press

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Enter the world of the Avengers’ iconic master spy. Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

MY REVIEW

Most of your probably know how into comics I am, and, like most of the world, I’m a big fan of superhero movies, so when I found out there was going to be a novel about one of the Avengers (particularly one I believe deserves more attention), I was pretty pumped. I hadn’t read a Margaret Stohl book before, but I wasn’t disappointed. Here are my favorite things about the book:

  • Black Widow: I loved learning more about Natasha Romanov. I’ve always thought she was fascinating in that she is so human. She doesn’t have any special powers/technology/etc. She’s so engaging in this book, and I was totally engrossed in all of her scenes. I honestly didn’t think there were enough scenes with her.
  • Interview transcripts: You guys know how much I like alternate storytelling methods, and we get part of an interview transcript at the end of every chapter, which was so cool. It kept me reading, wanting to know what the interview was about and who had been the line-of-duty death they were discussing.
  • The voices: Stohl nailed the voices of Natasha, Tony Stark, and Agent Coulson, especially for MCU fans – they are spot on. Stark is arrogant and Coulson is a nerd, and it’s so great.
  • Ava: She’s a pretty cool character. Tough but vulnerable, bitter, and tough. She does what she has to do, and I thought she was pretty badass.

There were a few things I wasn’t as big on:

  • The length: For comic book fans, Black Widow: Forever Red is going to run pretty long. I’m used to 24-page single issues or 120-150 page trades, so a novel about a comic book character coming in at just over 300 pages was a little long and felt somewhat drawn out.
  • MORE Natasha: As much as I enjoyed Ava, the main character, I was hoping for more scenes with Natasha, as she was the most engaging part of the book for me.
  • Instalove: There was a mild case of instalove/too hot too fast, which didn’t fit with who Ava was previously. It felt a little out of character for her.

The bottom line: Overall, this was a fun, action-packed, kick-ass novel about a comic character that I felt deserved more attention. Natasha was hard, tough, bitter, and awesome, and I thought the well-known comic book characters were spot-on. It’s a little long but I still enjoyed it.

Rating: 7 – pretty good

ABOUT MARGARET

Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times Bestselling co-author of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES Novels and DANGEROUS CREATURES novels, as well as the author of BLACK WIDOW: FOREVER RED forthcoming from Marvel Press (Marvel YA), and the ICONS Novels.

Margaret StohlShe is the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Indie-Bound, Wall Street Journal and Internationally Bestselling author of nine YA novels, and has been published in 37 languages and 48 countries. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES was adapted into a film (2013) by Warner Brothers and Alcon Entertainment, and was an ALA William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist in 2010, as well as a SCIBA award finalist, a NYPL Book for the Teen Age, and a YALSA Teen Top Ten Pick. Beautiful Creatures was named the #1 Teen Pick from Amazon in 2009, and the #5 Editors Pick, Overall.

Prior to becoming an author, Margaret worked in the video game industry as a writer and lead designer for sixteen years, eventually co-founding 7 Studios game developer with her husband, Lewis Peterson. She is also the co-founder of YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), two of the biggest kid/teen book festivals in the country. An alumnus of Amherst College, Stanford University, and Yale University, Margaret lives in Santa Monica with her family, two rescue cats, and two bad beagles.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

THE GIVEAWAY

3 winners will receive a finished copy of BLACK WIDOW: FORVER RED. US Only.

Giveaway Enter

CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE TOUR 

Week One:

10/5/2015- Caught Read Handed Review
10/6/2015- Mundie Moms– Interview
10/7/2015- Novel Novice– Review
10/8/2015- IceyBooks– Guest Post
10/9/2015- Word Spelunking– Review

Week Two:

10/12/2015- Fangirlish– Interview
10/13/2015- Wishful Endings– Review
10/14/2015- Nerdophiles– Guest Post
10/15/2015- Chapter by Chapter– Review
10/16/2015- The Reading Nook Reviews– Interview

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Comics for Readers who would LIKE to try them

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. For today’s theme we had to choose a topic and give ten books for readers who liked that topic (Ten Books For Readers Who Like _________). I’ve decided to put a little spin on this and I’m going with:

Ten comics for readers who would like to try them

I know it’s kind of cheating, but as I did my freebie TTT post on Reasons to Read Comics, I thought I’d actually give you some comics to read! Please note that I have only been reading comics for approximately seven months, so my list is obviously not exhaustive nor am I say I’m an expert comic reader. If you have more suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments! I’m always looking for more to read. I’m going to link to some of my reviews, but I kind of cringe at them now – my comics reviews have improved as my reading and understanding of them have grown. These are in the order in which I first read them:

Saga Volume 1Saga – When I first told my branch manager at the library (who is a HUGE comics reader) that I wanted to try comics, he shoved the first trade of Saga at me. The very first line was “Am I shitting?” and I cracked up. Saga is a huge, sweeping fantasy about a war between a planet and its moon and the consequences of two people falling in love when they shouldn’t. But it’s also offensive, hilarious, weird, and super awesome. I know have Saga on my pull list at my comic book shop. [volume 1] I [volume 2] I [volume 3]

The Walking Dead – I love TWD so much that it had its own reason on that TTT post I linked to above. I devoured all 20 (at that time) trades – including buying several that were not in my library’s system because some jerk stole them – and I’m pretty sure it was the first comic I added to my pull list. It’s incredible, you guys. [volume 1] I [volume 2] I [volume 3]

Batman: Arkham Asylum – This is one of those books that as you read it, you feel as if you’re going crazy with the characters. I’m still (six months later) not really sure what I even read, but I love it. It’s also illustrated by the absolutely amazing Dave McKean who creates dark, bizarre, incredible illustrations. My super newbie review is on WPR.

Batman and Robin #39Batman and Robin – Okay, I’m going to attempt to tone down the obsession here because I could go do a whole post about how much I love Damian Wayne, you guys. In case you weren’t aware, that’s Bruce Wayne’s son, and he’s the focus of this Batman and Robin series I’m talking about. He’s such a sassy, stubborn, smug little punk, but he also just wants to live up to his dad and he loves his dog and…ugh. I love him. And not in a weird way. Just in a “I completely love this character and Patrick Gleason draws him SO perfectly” kind of way. He’s such a fun character to read each month.

Bodies – This mini-run from Si Spencer and Vertigo just ended and I’m still a little sad because of that, BUT this series is a whirlwind of craziness, timelines, open-mindedness, and I would highly recommend it. Seriously, the trade comes out soon and you need it. You can read all of my reviews for all eight issues (as well as my interview with Si) on WatchPlayRead.

Chew – So I’ve only read the first ten issues of this one (waiting on my hold to come in!), but it’s so freaking weird but totally awesome, you guys. It’s about a guy who can tell where ANYTHING came from and what happened to it right before it died – so when he eats chicken he can how it died. Doesn’t that sound sucky? Yeah. BUT then he gets recruited to work in this special police department where he takes “samples” of PEOPLE to find out how they died. EW. But it’s so funny and odd too.

Wild’s End – Marketed as a mix of War of the World and A. A. Milne. If that doesn’t sound like something you want to read, just move on to the next one. If you stuck around, WHAT?! Doesn’t that sound amazing?? It was. It was only a six issue mini run but it was full of so much Britishness and I just love it.

Through the Woods coverThrough the Woods – I reviewed this one on the blog. It’s creepy and dark and so so good.

Thor – The new Thor is a freaking woman, ladies and gentlemen (mostly ladies)! If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, boo on you. It’s a really cool story so far and I’m enjoying seeing new Thor and male-Thor who’s no longer worthy of Mjolnir duke it out.

Superior Iron Man – Tony Stark’s mind has been messed with and his already present arrogance and intelligence have been amplified. He believes he needs to make the world a smarter and more beautiful place – by hooking SanFran’s residents on a drug that makes them smarter and prettier. Fun times.

Do you read comics? What other books would you recommend? If you are interested in seeing more comics I’ve read, you can head over to WatchPlayRead to read my reviews

Stacking the Shelves: National Book Lovers Day

So I keep saying I’m not going to do Stacking the Shelves that often, and then I go and buy a bunch of books/comic books/graphic novels. I have a problem. Anyway, today was National Book Lovers Day, so you know I had to celebrate…by buying some books. I went to Barnes and Noble, which was having a Page to Screen event (aka giving away a bunch of free posters and such) and Comic Commander, the comic book shop closest to me. Here’s what I got!

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The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco (SO EXCITED about this one); The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (also excited about this one. It’s been recommended to me by at least five different people)

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Volume one of Chew; Issue one of Bodies and Terminal Hero; Issues one and two of Thomas Alsop (Yay for starting a few comics near the beginning!)

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CHAPTER SAMPLER OF AFTERWORLDS!!

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Look at these posters!! You know I’m super pumped about that The Maze Runner poster! And the Doctor Who one.

So what about you? Did you add anything to your shelves this week?

Happy National Book Lovers Day to all of you lovely bookish people. 🙂

Comic Book Review: Saga [volume 3]

If you’ve read my review of Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Saga, you know that I’m a little bit obsessed with it. A little bit – haha.

Saga, volume 3 Cover

This volume was no different. I mean, I went out and bought Volume 3 because our library system doesn’t have it yet and I wasn’t going to wait. This guy on Goodreads sums it up pretty well: “This comic is so good it’s starting to piss me off.”

I honestly don’t know the point of this review because I can’t really tell you what happens without potentially spoiling the first two volumes. Honestly, if you have even the smallest interest in getting into comics (and you are open-minded about potentially crude behavior), please check out Saga. It’s funny, imaginative, and amazing. The illustrations are incredible and perfectly match the content of the story. Like, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples didn’t win a Hugo Award for nothing – they won it for the incredibleness that is Saga.

We, of course, get some new characters in this volume, including the two reporters who are hoping to make their career on the story of Alana and Marko. I’m kind of in love with them. There’s also some drama (when old girlfriends resurface or when some of our friends eat some not-so-friendly fruit). I’m kind of freaking out about how this issues ends and I can barely wait for the next volume; I’m almost tempted to start buying the individual issues because I. need. to. know.

This girl sums up my feelings about the next volume: “I’m sure I’ll be totally fine for the next six months as we await Volume Fo- [LYING]”

Saga, volume 3 geek out

Publication info:

Saga [volume 3]

Written by Brian K. Vaughan; illustrated by Fiona Staples

Published by Image Comics; March 25, 2014

144 pages (paperback)

 

Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, Volume 3 “Safety Behind Bars”

So far this week, I’ve reviewed the first two volumes of The Walking Dead comics, Days Gone Bye and Miles Behind Us. Today, I’m reviewing the third volume, Safety Behind Bars, which just made me even more obsessed with the comics. I wish I could just buy ALL the volumes and spend several days reading them all, but, alas, there are like 20 volumes and I cannot afford that.

There may be spoilers if you’ve never watched the show, because I don’t know when what happens in the books happens in the show so I can’t warn you. I’ll just say: there are potential spoilers in this review.

The Walking Dead, volume 3 cover

Goodreads Summary:

This volume follows our band of survivors as they set up a permanent camp inside a prison. Relationships change, characters die, and our team of survivors learn there’s something far more deadly than zombies out there: each other.

What I thought:

The group make it into the prison, but outside the snow melts and a handwritten note says “All dead. Do not enter.” Uh oh. In the prison, the group finds four criminals who’ve holed themselves up in the kitchen. Rick decides to go back to the farm and invite Hershel and his children (and Glenn) to stay at the prison; they’ve got plenty of room. What a nice move on Rick’s part; he’s a good dude.

The Walking Dead, volume 3 All Dead

Julie and Chris enter into a suicide pact that goes wrong. Chris shoots just a second too soon and Julie dies but Chris lives. When Tyreese gets to the two of them, he finds his daughter dead, but soon she returns to life as a zombie. This was a previously unknown way to turn and the group realize that they are all infected and should they die, they’d be a zombie. Oh crap.

This prompts Rick to go back to where they buried Shane and kill him again. That’s what you get, Shane!

Back at the prison, Hershel finds his twin daughters, Susie and Rachel, murdered in the barber shop. The group locks up Dexter, the inmate who was convicted for murder. Andrew, convicted for drug dealing, talks to Dexter (it is implied they had a relationship) about getting the guns from the armory and kicking them all out. Andrea is in the laundry room and is attacked by Thomas (convicted for “tax evasion”) and is beaten down by Rick, who introduces the “You Kill You Die” rule. Thomas is eventually shot by Maggie and thrown over the fence. Hershel watches as he is eaten by zombie.

The Walking Dead, volume 3 Susie and Rachel dead

At the end of the volume, Dexter and Andrew threaten Rick and his gang and tell them to “Get the fuck out of my house.”

Well, dang. Just as they think they’ve got a nice place for themselves, they’re kicked out. Apparently, this is not what happens in the show. Again, I don’t know what happens, but I thought this volume was super intense and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The artwork continued to be top notch and super impressive. I can’t wait to see what happens in volume 4!

READ THESE COMICS ALREADY!

Written by Robert Kirkman; illustrated by Charlie Adlard

Have you read The Walking Dead comics? What did you think? Also, can you tell me (spoiler-free if possible), what the differences are between what happened in this volume and the show? 🙂

Comic Book Review: Saga [volume 2]

So if you saw my review of Saga [volume 1] last week, you could probably guess that I LOVED it. Like, A LOT. Like, asdfkl; a lot.

As soon as I finished reading it, I put a hold on Volume 2. I couldn’t wait for it to come in, and when it did, I was so pumped. I flew through the second volume, and I can safely say that I am OBSESSED with this comic. It’s incredible. To show you how much I love it: our library system doesn’t have Volume 3 anywhere, so I went to the comic book store last weekend and bought it. I don’t even own the first two volumes (yet) but I will not wait until the library system has it to read it. I needed it NOW.

Just in case I need to say it again: this comic can be offensive to some people and there may or may not be expletives below.

Saga, volume 2 Cover

I honestly don’t know how to properly describe how much I love this series and why I think you should read it. Remember, it’s kind of offensive: there’s sex scenes, a huge, disgusting scrotum that dangles down from a grotesque giant, and a lot of “bad” behavior. However, there are also several real, mature, unromanticized relationships that are just beautiful (particularly the one between Alana and Marko). And yes, this series is technically sci-fi (with spaceships, aliens, robots, and the like) but the relationships are so genuine and human that you don’t have to be a sci-fi fan like me to enjoy it.

In this volume, our star-crossed lovers continue to search for a safe home for their new family. Their babysitter, a ghost with no legs named Izabel, has been marooned on a nearby planet and Marko and his mother (yep, Alana’s in-laws have come) must go down there to find her. This is when we meet our gargatuan, nasty scrotum which is attached to a giant who wants to kill our heroes.Saga, volume 2 - The Will and The Stalk

Meanwhile, The Will is mourning the death of The Stalk, and he gets a completely unexpected and totally awesome ally who promises to help him with his mission and to help save Slave Girl. Prince Robot IV is still reading (and becoming obsessed) with the book that Alana was reading when she worked in the prison. We get a really lovely backstory about how this book brought our two heroes together. I enjoyed getting to learn about how they two of them met.

I also really liked how baby Hazel’s narrations and interruptions were more frequent in this volume, as I really like her input into the story. I thought that we got to know our characters even more in this volume and I continued to really root for our heroes. And again, I still really love The Will A LOT even though I know his mission is to kill our heroes.

Staples’ art is incredible and it completely matches the story. She’s able to perfectly capture the looks on our character’s faces and I honestly don’t think any other artist would have worked as well. In this volume, Alana is much softer than she was in the first volume, which I think is because she’s becoming more of a mother and protector. I liked her character a lot more this time, not that I didn’t already like her.Saga, volume 2 - Alana reading

I think I liked this volume even more than the first, and like I said, I had to go buy the third volume because I can’t wait to see what happens next! I can’t recommend Saga enough. Read it. Just do it, okay? 😀

I will, Marko. I will.

I will, Marko. I will.

Don’t believe me when I say it’s super awesome? Check out this article titled “10 Reasons You Should Be Reading Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga.”

Publication info:

Saga, volume 2

Written by Brian K. Vaughan; illustrated by Fiona Staples

Published by Image Comics; June 2013

144 pages

 

Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, Volume 2 “Miles Behind Us”

Volume 2: Miles Behind Us

On Tuesday, I reviewed The Walking Dead, Volume 1: Days Gone Bye, which I definitely enjoyed! Today, I’m reviewing Volume 2 “Miles Behind Us”, which is when I became truly and completely hooked on The Walking Dead comics. I’m kind of obsessed.

There may be spoilers if you’ve never watched the show, because I don’t know when what happens in the books happens in the show so I can’t warn you. I’ll just say: there are potential spoilers in this review.

The Walking Dead, Volume 2 cover

Goodreads Summary:

This volume follows our band of survivors on their tragic journey in search of shelter. Characters live and die as they brave a treacherous landscape littered with packs of the walking dead.

What I thought:

OH MY GOODNESS. This is when I realized I was obsessed with this series. I love that it’s technically a zombie story, but that’s not really the focus in these comics. It’s on the humans and their lives and struggles: their search for food and shelter and a way to start a life for themselves again.

[spoilers] In this volume, Lori figures out that she’s pregnant, and she struggles to come to terms with this and decide whether or not to keep it in the face of their search for food and shelter. How can she bring someone into their world when they already don’t have enough food for themselves?

The group runs into Tyreese, his daughter, Julie, and her boyfriend, Chris. I liked Tyreese right away. He’s a total badass. They begin to travel together, and they come across Wiltshire Estates (I think this is another one of those differences between the show and the books; I was told that Wiltshire happens at the same time as an event that happens later in the books. I’ll find out when I watch). They think they are safe, but are soon overcome by zombies. Donna is killed (YES! I know that’s horrible, but I did not like her AT ALL).

The Walking Dead, volume 2 Wiltshire

When they go hunting, Carl is accidentally shot by Otis, a farmhand for Hershel, who allows them to stay at the farm while Carl heals. I was so happy when Glenn found love with Maggie at Hershel’s place. I like Glenn. There’s a crazy scene in which a BUNCH of zombies are let out of the barn where Hershel’s been locking them up instead of killing them. Again, amazing artwork. Hershel was a complete idiot for keeping all those zombies locked up though. I know he did it because [spoiler] his son was one of the zombies, but seriously? Stupid move.

The Walking Dead, volume 2 Carl Shot

Unfortunately, the group is forced to leave Hershel’s farm and at the end of the volume, they stumble across the prison which they hope will become their home.

So much craziness and so much awesomeness in this volume. I was definitely hooked by this volume. HIGHLY recommended.

Written by Robert Kirkman; illustrated by Charlie Adlard

Make sure you check out my review of Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars on Saturday!

Have you read The Walking Dead comics? What did you think? Also, can you tell me (spoiler-free if possible), what the differences are between what happened in this volume and the show? 🙂

Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, Volume 1 “Days Gone Bye”

It would be pretty difficult to be alive and be someone who is online a lot and NOT know about The Walking Dead. I’ve heard A LOT about it, but I have yet to watch the TV show (I know, I know. But I lived in another country for a while and just didn’t have time). However, I’ve definitely been intrigued by it, so it was high on my list of comics to check out when I started reading them. So far I’ve read the first three volumes and I bought the fourth volume yesterday. I’m kind of obsessed. I want to read a decent amount of the volumes before I start watching the shows so I can compare and not having anything spoiled. I thought I’d review the first three volumes for you this week!

There may be spoilers if you’ve never watched the show, because I don’t know when what happens in the books happens in the show so I can’t warn you. I’ll just say: there are potential spoilers in this review.

The Walking Dead, Volume 1 cover

Volume 1: Days Gone Bye – Goodreads Summary:

The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living.

What I thought:

I thought Volume 1 did a fantastic job at introducing the series. We get a really good idea for what is happening and I kind of fell in love with the series right away. I think it makes you feel the fear and anxiety that these characters, particularly Rick, feels throughout this whole first volume. I definitely felt for the characters and I wanted each one of them to survive. The human factor in The Walking Dead was wonderful and it made you connect with these characters from the beginning. There’s a focus on how humanity would adjust to life in a post-apocalyptic world after being so used to living comfortably in our current society, which I really enjoyed. The dystopian/post-apocalyptic genre is my favorite, so this fit in quite well with what I like.

I also really love the artwork. I think the black and white illustrations worked really well, and boy, were those zombies GROSS.

The Walking Dead, volume 1 Atlanta

[Potential spoiler alert] At the end of volume 1, Shane goes absolutely crazy and is about to shoot Rick when Carl shoots him. I was discussing this with a friend who watches the show and was told that this didn’t actually happen in the show until the end of like season 3 or something. I was also told that the relationship between Shane and Lori was a lot more intense in the show than in the comics. In the comics, they’ve slept together only once but when Rick shows up at their camp, Lori goes right back to Rick. I thought this was an interesting change, but I can understand wanting to elaborate on their relationship as it probably added a lot of drama to the show.

The Walking Dead, volume 1 Shane

I really enjoyed this first volume and I was glad that I already had the second volume checked out from the library and waiting to be read. If you like the show or just love a good zombie story/human story, you should check out these books! Especially if you’re a fan of seriously awesome zombie art. Definitely recommended.

Written by Robert Kirkman; illustrated by Tony Moore

Make sure you check out my review for Volume 2: Miles Behind Us on Thursday!

Have you read The Walking Dead comics? What did you think? Also, can you tell me (spoiler-free if possible), what the differences are between what happened in this volume and the show? 🙂

Stacking the Shelves: Comic book edition

I said last week that I probably wouldn’t do a Stacking the Shelves post every week, but I had to do another one for my first ever comic book haul! Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews!

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you know that I have recently started reading comic books and graphic novels (so far I have only reviewed Saga here on the blog). Today, I took my first trip to a comic book store to actually buy things; I’ve been to comic book stores but mostly for Doctor Who or other nerdy products.

I went to Comic Commander in Ridgeland, MS, and I got a really great haul! See?

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I got: Saga [volume 3]; The Walking Dead [volume 4]; JLA: New World Order; Issues 2-4 of Loki (I need volume 1); Issues 1-4 of Journey into Mystery (If you couldn’t tell, I adore Loki – he’s always been one of my favorite gods in mythology); Issue 1 of Robin Rises: Omega; Issues 1 and 2 of Black Widow.

I’m super pumped about my haul, and I just had to share! Have you read any of these? What did you think? 

Comic Book Review: Saga [volume 1]

I was warned when I picked this up at the library where I work that it was super offensive but really, really good. I don’t have a problem with offensive at all and I’m usually a fan of really, really good, so I checked it out. WOAH! OH MY GOODNESS, YOU GUYS! SO SO SO SO GOOD.

WARNING: This book is pretty dang offensive and has some bad language and nudity, so if that might bother you, don’t read on. I have included a few pictures, one of which has some boobs, and I have one expletive in my review. 🙂

Saga, volume 1 Cover

HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS (there’s that one expletive). This book. If you are interested in or already love graphic novels, read Saga. It is incredible. I flew through it and then immediately put a hold on the second volume. We don’t have the third volume in the library system, so I’m probably going to buy it. I’m kind of obsessed.

Okay, so the planet Landfall is at war with its moon, Wreath. The conflict between the two has engulfed the entire galaxy. In the midst of all this, two soldiers from opposite sides of the war find love with one another. Branded as traitors after the birth of their daughter, Wreath foot soldier Marko and Private First Class Alana of Landfall are hoping to escape the war that has consumed their worlds to raise their daughter in a safe place. Unfortunately, because they are traitors, the two sides of the war can now agree on one thing: Marko and Alana need to die. Uh oh.

Marko and Alana (along with their baby daughter Hazel, who narrates the story) are stuck on Cleave and must navigate the planet to find the Rocketship Forest so that they may escape the planet and galaxy. On the way, they find the Horrors, a group of ghosts of the residents of Cleave, who are stuck on the planet after they die in order to protect it (it obviously didn’t work well as the war has overrun the planet). Fortunately, Izabel, one of the Horrors, offers to help the couple on their journey. Izabel was one of my favorite characters in the novel. She’s a super sassy teenager with no legs. She’s funny and sweet and completely endearing.

Izabel

The government of Landfall hires Robot IV, a prince, who, I think, is more human than several of the actually human characters in the novel. His “head” is a computer screen, and I really liked how occasionally he’d have pictures show up on the screen either to demonstrate his feelings (like the picture below) or to show the people he’s talking to the evidence that he’s questioning them about. It was quite clever actually.

Saga 5

We also have a couple of other antagonists, mercenaries hired to hunt down the couple and their daughter. One of them, The Stalk, has got to be one of the creepiest creatures I’ve seen in a long time. Fiona Staples, the illustrator, is brilliant and The Stalk made me shudder when I first encountered her. In fact, I got creeped out pretty much every time we saw her, particularly if we were seeing her from a new angle. The picture on the left is the first time we see her and then the one on the right is a little later on. *shudders*

Saga 6 The Stalk

But my absolute favorite character has got to be the other mercenary, The Will, and his super awesome cat.

The Will

I mean, can you say “BAMF”? Look at him walking at us. The cape, the cigarette, that freaking cat. He’s super intense and sassy and I just love him. The Will supposedly only has the ethics that his clients tell him to, but he soon is fighting with his morals in order to… well, I guess I won’t give it away. You should just read it. But I was rooting for The Will, even though he’s technically the villain. Sometimes, it was hard to remember that he had been hired to kill our heroes.

So our heroes.  Alana and Marko are strong and kind and they are perfect for each other. I found that I was on their side right from the beginning; I wanted them to escape the war, to be happy, to be free. I think there is definitely something to say about an author (and illustrator) who can evoke such strong emotions from their audience. I really wanted everything to work out for our heroes.

I could probably talk about all the different things I loved about this graphic novel for days. So I’ll stop there, but I loved this novel and I’m so glad it was my first graphic novel (in a while). I cannot wait to keep reading about these characters.

Publication info:

Saga

Written by Brian K. Vaughan; illustrated by Fiona Staples

Published by Image Comics; October 2012

160 pages