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Graphic Novel Threefer: Saga Vol. 4, The Unwritten Vol. 10, Fairest Vol. 3

May 8, 2015

It’s a graphic novel threefer today! We’ve got the newest volumes from Saga, The Unwritten, and Fables: Fairest!

5. Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (2014)
Saga, Volume 4

Length: 144 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, Graphic Novel

Started / Finished: 22 January 2015

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? New volume in one of my favorite graphic novel series!

Summary: Marko, Alanna, and their toddler Hazel have gone into hiding on a planet that is officially neutral in the ongoing war between Landfall and Wreath. Even though there are forces from both governments – and others that have more personal grudges – that are hunting them, life still must go on. Alanna is earning a living working on an underground broadcast soap-opera (in costume, so her true identity is protected), while Marko spends his day caring for Hazel. But the stresses of being fugitives are beginning to get to them… Alanna turns to drugs to get through the mind-numbing awfulness of work, while Marko finds himself drawn to a fellow parent during Alanna’s increasing absences. The only way they’ve survived as long as they have is by working together, so as the cracks in their relationship begin to show, can they have a prayer of keeping their family intact when their enemies finally track them down?

Review: Saga continues to be brilliant, just brilliant. As much as I’m having a hard time saying that I “liked” this volume, when it is so heart-achingly hard to watch Marko and Alanna fall apart, that’s part of what makes it so good. Relationships, even relationships as seemingly strong and romantic as theirs, aren’t always easy, and don’t always survive in the face of stress and change, no matter how much I love the pair of them and am pulling for them to work it out. For all the fantasy and sci-fi and bizarre left-field elements that this series contains, it is unflinchingly real and honest when it comes to the interpersonal dynamics, which is I think what makes it so great. 4 out of 5 stars.

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4. The Unwritten, Vol. 10: War Stories by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (2014)
The Unwritten, Volume 10

Length: 128 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Started / Finished: 21 January 2015

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? New volume in one of my favorite graphic novel series!

Summary: The Leviathan has been wounded, and the boundaries between stories are weakening and failing faster than ever. Tom Taylor, son of the author Wilson Taylor, and invested with the magical powers of the hero of his father’s stories, finds himself lost in stories, trying to get back to the real world – which is, of course, just another story. Meanwhile, the real world is in danger of being torn apart itself, as it is flooded with characters from other stories – in particular, all of the thousands of war stories are simultaneously intersecting with the real London, turning the city into the war zone to end all war zones, which means that Tom and his friends will have real battles to fight before they can hope to reach the forces that are ultimately hoping to put an end to the power of words.

Review: The Unwritten is wrapping up – this is the penultimate volume – and a lot of storylines from earlier in the series are present here, as things begin to be brought to a head. I love the ideas behind this series, about the power of stories to shape our lives and our worlds and our histories, so much that it’s difficult to really evaluate any single volume separate from the whole. I’m definitely going to have to go back after the series is complete and read the whole thing beginning to end in order to really appreciate everything that’s going on. That said, this volume was certainly interesting, and had a lot of really cool elements that I look forward to seeing how Carey brings together in the end. (I was also so happy to see Narnia pop up towards the beginning of the book, and sort of surprised that it hadn’t appeared before now.) 4 out of 5 stars.

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7. Fables: Fairest, Vol. 4: Of Mice and Men by Marc Andreyko, Shawn McManus, Bill Willingham (2014)
Fables: Fairest, Volume 4

Length: 144 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Started / Finished: 04 February 2015

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? New volume in one of my favorite graphic novel series!

Summary: Cinderella’s typically the Fables’ toughest secret agent, but when a new enemy surfaces with ties to her past, it may be more than she can handle. There’s a race of mice/human hybrids that are wreaking destruction and violence across the world, and Cinderella suspects it may be the work of her fairy godmother. Cinderella tracks her down, but soon finds that she might be in over her head, even with help from an old friend… there are a *lot* of mice in the world, and they’ve come for a reckoning.

Review: This was a fun story, nicely self-contained while still being fairly closely tied in to the main Fables storyline, which has not necessarily been true of all of the Fairest spin-off volumes. I appreciated the combination of the traditional Cinderella story with the Fables invention of her secret agent identity, a tough of Indian mythology worked in, and the Three Blind Mice getting to play a role. I also loved Cinderella and Snow White working together to kick ass and then needling other about shoes and guys. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2015 9:23 pm

    Ugh the fourth volume of Saga made me so sad. I love the portrayal of that marriage etc., but I was just crushed to see Alana and Marko so angry and messed up with each other. I want them to be happy again dammit!

    • May 18, 2015 9:42 am

      I know, right? It’s so good, because it’s Saga, but so horrible at the same time.

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