Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – A Review

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Saga, Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Science Fiction
Published by Image Comics
Released October 23, 2012
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_and_a_half_stars

The Saga series has been on my radar for years, so I’m not sure why I didn’t start reading it before now. There’s quite a bit of hype surrounding this series, so that could be part of the reason. As much as I hate to admit it, hype tends to make me nervous about picking up a book.

Saga, Volume One tells the story of one family amidst inter-planetary war. Alana and Marko are both former soldiers for their respective planets and find themselves on the run from both planets’ governments after giving birth to Hazel. Two mercenaries, The Will and The Stalk, are hired to track them down and kill the parents, but leave the infant alive.

One thing to keep in mind is that this comic series is meant for adults. There’s nudity, sex, violence, and a lot of foul language. This isn’t the type of graphic novel you give to your children. 

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Hazel is the narrator of the story, which I hope continues into volume two and beyond. She’s telling us the story of her parents and her childhood, and it’s an interesting storytelling device.

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There’s a lot going on in this graphic novel: war, magic, ghosts, spaceships that grow like trees, television people, a giant cat that can tell when someone’s lying, and so much more. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of it all, and will most certainly be carrying on with the series.

The writing style and art style work exceptionally well together. While I don’t think it lives up to the insane hype surrounding it, it is a great science fiction comic book series.

The thing that really makes this series stand out is its character development. Few of the characters are simply good or bad – there’s a lot of complex morality and personalities in the story.

Overall, while it’s definitely not my favorite comic book series, it’s still enjoyable and a unique take on the classic Romeo and Juliet trope.




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Doctor Strange: The Oath – A Comic Series Review

“The firm footing of rational thought has its place, Watson, but when dealing with the enchanted one must take the occasional leap of faith.”

The Series

 

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Doctor Strange: The Oath by Brian K. Vaughn, art by Marcos Martin
Published in 2007 by Marvel
Read through Marvel Unlimited
Amazon | Goodreads

What It Is

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The Oath is a five-part comic series that was released in 2007 and was written by Brian K. Vaughn (most recently known for his work on Saga), with art by Marcos Martin.

Doctor Strange discovers that his faithful assistant and best friend, Wong, has a very rare and untreatable brain tumor, and is determined to use every resource at his disposal to find a cure. During his quest, he discovers a powerful, magical potion, known as Otkid’s Elixir.

Before he can administer the potion to Wong, Doctor Strange is shot and the potion is stolen. Wong drags Doctor Strange to the office of Night Nurse, who is actually a doctor, where she works to save Strange’s life while being pestered by his astral form.

Brigand is the name of the petty criminal-for-hire who shot Strange and stole the elixir, but Doctor Strange can sense that something’s not quite right. He shouldn’t have been taken down by someone as weak as Brigand, so who’s helping him? Mephisto, Nightmare, Mordo, Dormammu… there are so many people that could be behind this.

Doctor Strange, Wong, and Night Nurse team up to try to get the elixir back, discovering it’s true nature, and being forced to make a life-or-death decision.

My Thoughts

Doctor Strange is my favorite Marvel character, and since discovering Marvel Unlimited (which is amazing), I’ve been catching up on his backstory. I’m disappointed that it took me so long to get to this particular series because I really enjoyed it.

This series is one of the prime examples of what I love so much about Doctor Strange. He’s brilliant but rash and has learned from the mistakes of his past. There are plenty of quirky, funny moments, and Doctor Strange easily makes a name for himself as one of the most powerful figures in the Marvel universe.

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One of my favorite panels

The art by Marcos Martin is wonderful, and below are a few of my favorite panels. I particularly love the way Nightmare is drawn in this series:

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One aspect of the story that I liked was the commentary on the evils of the pharmaceutical industry. Much of the story is Doctor Strange fighting a representative of Timely Pharmaceuticals, who may have a bit more up his sleeve than just a medical degree.

Most comic books, especially those published by Marvel, start with a general introduction to the story, summarizing the previous few issues and a very brief biography of the character. Much of the time, it’s basically the same page in each individual issue, with a few minor adjustments made here and there as the story unfolds, but I really appreciated that in The Oath each issue has a unique introduction page. In most comic series I actually skip over that page, especially if I’ve been following the story since issue 1, but for this one, I ended up reading and enjoying the introductions.

My favorite thing about this series is that it’s a story of the friendship between Doctor Strange and Wong, and Strange’s promises to his friends and patients. Wong has always been an integral part of every Doctor Strange series, but this particular one does a great job of showing that.

Verdict

I’m giving this series a 5 out of 5 stars. I loved so much about it, and since it’s only five issues, it’s short enough to re-read frequently. This is a wonderful place to start if you’re new to Doctor Strange comics.

Are you a Doctor Strange fan? What’s your favorite issue or series?

Banned Books: Part Three

September 23-29 is Banned Books Week, a week that promotes the freedom to read. Every day this week, I’ll be sharing three banned books that you should add to your TBR lists.

Part One
Part Two

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

This may be one of the most well-known banned books in America. It was banned in many schools for its language, specifically, use of the n-word, and it’s depiction of racism.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I wasn’t aware this popular trilogy had ever been banned or challenged until I started doing research to prepare for this series. It was banned in some schools because teachers and parents thought it was inappropriate for the age group that it was marketed for.

Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

This currently-running comic book series was challenged because some people saw it as “anti-family.” Issue 12 in the series was temporarily restricted on Apple because one of the panels featured an image of two men engaging in oral sex, although after some outcry, it was made available again.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?

Read Part Four
Read Part Five
Read Part Six
Read Part Seven