Graphic Novel Reviews: Saga and Fables vols. 1

*I should caveat that both Saga and Fables have strong language, violence and sexual content, so are not suitable for children.  These are adult comic books!*81+Sf+bNqUL

Saga: Volume 1 – Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Fiona Staples (artist)

Blurb: When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. 

This volume collects the first six issues of the series.

Other than a bit of dabbling in series’ where I have already read the books (Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files) or watched the previous series on tv (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Saga is my first foray into the world of graphic novels.

I found the style, naturally, very different from the fictional worlds I am used to, as I normally picture the characters and action myself with no interface between the printed word and my imagination.  Once I had adjusted though I was carried along effortlessly by the imaginations of the writer and artist instead, and was quickly hooked, on both the characters and the action!

I really liked the realistic dialogue and the sharp banter, especially between the star-crossed couple, and felt it contrasted neatly with the vivid otherness of the fantastical appearances of the characters (screen-head!) and settings.

Narrative interjections are provided from the older voice of the infant depicted on the cover, creating immediate interest in this account of her history and (evident? Maybe not…there are communicative ghosts in this world!) survival.

Overall I was definitely intrigued know what happens next, so will continue to follow this series.

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You can find more Saga at Image Comics’ website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter,or Instagram.

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Fables:  Legends in Exile (Vol. 1) – Bill Willingham (writer); Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha & Craig Hamilton (artists)

Blurb:  When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile.

Disguised among the “mundys,” their name for normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society that they call Fabletown.

From their exclusive luxury apartment buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, these creatures of legend must fight for their survival in the new world. 

I am just going to say immediately that I will be collecting this series too!

The style and plot is very different to Saga.  Where Saga is a bold, bright fantasy-sci-fi adventure Fables is more of a detective-noir, modern day fairytale.  This first volume follows the mystery of what has happened to Snow White’s sister, as investigated by the Big Bad Wolf in human form. As well as being a good, classic whodunnit (Christie style) we are introduced to the wider story arc of the reason the Fables are in ‘our world’ (the Adversary), and a varied cast of characters including Prince Charming, Jack, Little Boy Blue, the Three Pigs, Bluebeard and so on.

Obviously the main characters in this story are Snow White and Bigby Wolf and their introduction, character development, and chemistry is superb.  I will be interested to find out whether they will continue to be the main characters in future installments (I suspect yes, as between them they have ideal access to all elements of the community), or whether other plots will follow different characters.  To be honest, either would be fine by me, as the world/character building here is fascinating!

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You can find Fables at Vertigo Comics’ website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

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