Definition by Contrast in Saga 44

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When you are a kid, your family creates your idea of normal. It’s only when you go to a friend’s house and things are done just a little differently, that you can really define what makes your family unique. In Saga 44, Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan reinforce what we know about Marko, Alana, and Hazel by giving us a fun-house mirror version of their family.

Continue reading

Saga 43

Today, Ryan M. and Spencer are discussing Saga 43, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan M: Part of what makes Saga such a great story is that it operates on both the most literal and metaphorical levels. We are seeing the story of a nuclear family with relationships that are immediately recognizable. Marko and Alana’s romance is not a merely a vessel for a message about the power of love to transcend the boundaries created by heritage. They are two characters that have both the universal and specific complexities of each of us. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples deliver on both premises in Saga 43 as the crew regroups after Alana’s miscarriage and fights some dung people. Continue reading

Saga 41

saga-41

Today, Ryan D. and Spencer are discussing Saga 41, originally released January 4th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

And I love Dr. King but violence might be necessary

-Killer Mike, Run the Jewels

Ryan D: With all of the racially charged protests in the US from last year, Martin Luther King’s tenants of nonviolence became a talking point, used to chastise on countless 24/7 news networks and talk radio shows. The tricky thing about the six tenants of Kingian nonviolence is that they call for the understanding that “the Universe is on the side of the just”- a choice which seems to be a bit harder for those less inclined to believe in such a broad, philosophical stance, alongside a very Biblical adherence to turning the other cheek. The philosophy of the universe of Saga, on the other hand, seems more in line with the words of Killer Mike mentioned above, which goes on to say, in an ode to Malcolm X: “Cause when you live on MLK and it gets very scary/ You might have to pull your AK, send one to the cemetery.”  This is exactly the position we see Marko in by the end of Saga 41 in an issue revolving around violence, and it is always fascinating to see a pacifist’s descent. Continue reading

Best of 2016: Best Covers

best-covers-2016

You know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean you can’t judge the cover on its own merit. Some covers are so excellent that they pack all the drama, excitement and emotion of the whole issue into one succinct image. Sometimes they end up being their own surreal experience. And other times, we’re just exciting to see our favorite heroes kicking ass one more time. These are our top 10 covers of 2016. Continue reading

Saga 40

Today, Ryan and Patrick are discussing Saga 40, originally released November 30th, 2016.

Ryan: When I was a child, my least favorite sentence was “Life’s not fair.” As a hyper-verbal kid who was encouraged to talk out her frustrations, things boiled down to those three words far too often. It got to a point where my mother would only have to intake her breath to start to say it and I would finish the sentence, feeling a sense of injustice that the world cannot be bent to fit the ideals of fairness of my ten-year-old mind. It felt glib then, but I understand a bit more now. Fairness is an ideal and is easy to enforce in a tennis match or on tax forms, but when the stakes become more personal, there is no way to find a quantifiable balance. Saga 40 is made up of scenes of characters behaving unfairly to one another and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples use thematic elements to hold together an otherwise scattered issue.

Continue reading

Saga 39

Alternating Currents: Saga 39, Drew and Ryan

Today, Drew and Ryan M. are discussing Saga 39, originally released October 26th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

The best-laid plans of mice and men
Often go awry

Robert Burns, To A Mouse

Drew: If I had to pick an epigraph for our discussions of Saga, this most well-known line from Robert Burns’ most well-known poem would be it (indeed, I also used it to kick off our discussion of issue 16). It’s a sentiment that comes up often enough to have entered the lexicon as a common expression, and could reasonably describe most narratives where the protagonist(s) could be said to have a “plan,” but I’d argue that it is woven into the very fabric of Saga. Nobody, from the highest princes of the robot kingdom to the lowliest mouse medic ever has their plans work out perfectly, leaving them in a constant state of flux. That leaves them all like the mouse Burns’ poem was written for — the one whose home he destroyed while plowing a field. Issue 39 makes that parallel even more explicit, as the home of our leads is threatened by a force apparently unaware of their presence. Continue reading

Saga 37

saga 37

Today, Ryan M. and Ryan D. are discussing Saga 37, originally released August 31, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan M: When something bad happens, my first instinct is to go back in my mind and try to find all of the places where I could have seen it coming. Did I miss a moment of insight, overlook a bit of non-verbal communication or flat out ignore glaring signs? Then, I start looking at all of my life under that same lens. There is a sense that if I can see the bad things coming, they will hurt less when they hit. After all of the shock and heartache that Saga has offered, I may be hypersensitive because I saw potential for future pain everywhere. Continue reading

Saga 36

Today, Ryan M. and Patrick are discussing Saga 36, originally released April 27, 2016.

Ryan M: I’m a sympathetic cryer. When I hear that telltale catch in someone else’s voice, my eyes swell. It’s not limited to real people either. Characters in movies I don’t even like can get me pretty easily, as well as any one who is dying and says that they aren’t ready out loud. I’m also not really a fan of crying in front of people, so I tend to be wary about finishing a book on the bus or seeing heavy dramas at the movie theater. So, I made sure I was all alone when I read Saga 36. That’s how sure I was that Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples were preparing to gut me with empathetic sadness as they closed an arc with the death of one of the characters. Of course, I was pretty wrong about that. I still cried, but only happy tears. Continue reading

Saga 35

saga 35

Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Saga 35, originally released March 30th, 2016.

Shelby: One of the changes I’ve been trying to make for myself these last few years is in improving my communication. So many problems in both the real world and in fiction can be solved with just some simple communication. Every time two big-name superheroes meet for the first time, there’s always an issue devoted to them punching each other; if they just took two seconds to communicate a bit first, we’d be spared those boringly inevitable stories. The real problem, though, comes in when characters cannot communicate and have to act anyway. Characters who choose to act first, I got no sympathy for; it’s the ones that couldn’t even if they wanted to that I find the most intriguing and the most sympathetic. If you’re at all familiar with Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga, you’ll understand this sentiment completely. Continue reading

Saga 34

saga 34

Today, Spencer and Ryan M. Patrick are discussing Saga 34, originally released February 24th, 2016.

Spencer: Every once in a while, a long running series will introduce a new concept and try to say, “hey, this has been important all along!” This can be frustrating when it isn’t true (see: all the various retcons in Star Wars) or when the concept changes the entire dynamic of the series. Yet, when a new idea seamlessly integrates itself into the structure of the story, helping to express and define concepts that have been there all along, it can be absolutely enlightening. That’s what happens in Saga 34, where Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan use the idea of “diversity” to dig into both the causes and the solutions to all the problems plaguing the world of Saga. Continue reading