Welcome back to The Round-Up! This week we have an all Sarah Moran review block which contains issue 10 of Saga and the debut of The Fearless Defenders by Cullen Bunn!
SAGA #10 / Written by BRIAN K. VAUGHN / Art by FIONA STAPLES / Letters by FONOGRAFIKS / Published by IMAGE COMICS
Review by SARAH MORAN
Ten issues in and Saga continues to be just as solid as when it began. I had feared it would suffer as we enter its second arc. For a book to start so strong, it set the bar incredibly high, but every month Saga delivers. I could see this book becoming Vaughn’s opus, what he’ll be most remembered for if it keeps at the pace it’s going.
And what a pace. Beginning with a tender flashback to the moment Marko and Alana first express their love for one another, things continue to amp up until we’re suckerpunched by what can only be called an unexpected and heart wrenching cliffhanger. At least it was for me. Hell, I’m still in shock by both what happened and how upset it’s made me.
“I don’t understand. It’s like it was written just for me,” is a line of Marko’s and I can’t help but think this reflects how many of us likely feel about Saga. This wonderfully weird, sentimental story about a family surviving not only war and assassins but each other. At first glance Saga seems so out of this world, but at its heart it’s one of the most relatable stories being published. And the “villains” Vaughn has created are so multi-dimensional it’s hard to root against them, making that cliffhanger all the more gut wrenching.
What more praise can I throw at Staple’s artwork that hasn’t already been said over and over? The woman just nails it every issue, and I couldn’t imagine the world of Saga in any style than hers. Her double spread, splash page of the Timesuck is stunning and eerie. Staples’s grasp of facial expressions still astonishes me, no other characters emote like the ones in Saga. How quickly they switch from joy to awestruck horror comes issue’s end is fantastic.
Whenever I review Saga I always feel as if I’m just gushing about how marvelous this book is, but guys, I wouldn’t be if it wasn’t true. Do yourself a favor, pick up the trade, catch up, because Saga is still one of the best comics on the shelves today.
As a proud DC fangirl, Marvel has being doing an awfully good job luring me away with their female-led books. First there was the new Captain Marvel, then the announcement of an all-women X-Men book, now the team up of Valkyrie and Misty Knight in The Fearless Defenders. I’m practically swooning. But just having ladies on the cover isn’t enough for me. I need them to be full-bodied, realized characters, and Fearless Defenders delivers. Not only that, but the total opposites approach is fun, and even though I’m a Marvel novice I never felt lost or confused about who these women are.
Cullen Bunn manages to give these ladies not only believable dialogue, but some snappy lines, too. I love the quippy exchanges between Valkyrie and Misty, highlighting again their differences but also how much they think alike. The non-powered archeologist, Annabelle, isn’t a just a throwaway character, either. She brings gumption and I hope she hangs around for a while. The premise is explained thoroughly without any unnecessary exposition, and you’re given a real good sense of the adventure they’re about to embark on.
On the art side of things, what Will Sliney has done is very good, though there are a few overtly sexualized moments I could have done without. Just a few too many panels with Misty contorted in that pose that allows us to admire both her boobs and her butt. And speaking of boobs, I can’t get over the armor Valkyrie sports, she’s got bonafide boob missiles on her chest. Veronica Gandini’s colors I love, very rich. They make splash pages, like one of Valkyrie arriving on her flying horse, simply stunning.
For new readers and longtime Marvel fans, there’s really nothing not to like here. In its mere 23 pages, Fearless Defenders has a good balance of action, comedy, a little romance, and plain old ass kicking. Believe me, you’ll want more.