Welcome back to The Round-Up! This week we have an all Sarah Moran review block which contains issue 11 of Saga and the aftermath of the “Death of Everyone” arc in Invincible!
INVINCIBLE #101 / Written by ROBERT KIRKMAN / Art by RYAN OTTLEY, CLIFF RATHBURN, and JOHN RAUCH / Letters by RUS WOOTON / Published by IMAGE COMICS
Review by SARAH MORAN
After reaching its monumental 100th issue, I fear Invincible might be suffering under its own achievement. The cast has become bloated, the sense of peril just isn’t the same, and I hate to say it, but I’m bored with Mark Grayson. And while I say all that, Invincible #101 isn’t a terrible book, it’s just missing the spark that launched its popularity in a market over-saturated with superheroes.
If anything, this book reads like one big wrap-up. There have been a lot of plot lines floating through the last few issues, and Invincible #101 tries to bring them all closure. There’s Viltrumites on Earth developing humanity, a massive clean-up after Dinosaurus’ attack, most of the superhero community distrusting Mark, Mark working with Cecil and the government again, Omni-Man being forced to live off-world as punishment for his past crimes, and Mark and Eve dealing with pregnancy. It’s too much! You can argue progress is made allowing the series to move forward, but Invincible #101 still feels very congested.
There is one moment I thought handled wonderfully, Mark and Eve coming to terms with being pregnant. The art team of Ottley, Rathburn, and Rauch do a fantastic job portraying each stage: shock, fear, acceptance, reality of it all sinking in; it’s all there in their facial expressions and body language. It’s not a scene without dialogue, but it easily could have been.
I wouldn’t recommend Invincible #101 as a jumping on point, there’s simply too much clutter. Long time fans of the series might even be a little bored by this one. But hopefully, as Invincible moves past its 100th issue climax, new stories can begin and the excitement will come back.
SAGA #11 / Written by BRIAN K. VAUGHAN / Art by FIONA STAPLES / Letters by FONOGRAFIKS / Published by IMAGE COMICS
Review by SARAH MORAN
Never have I been so happy to be made to feel so distraught. That’s the magic of Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga, I love it whether it makes me feel happy or sad. And Saga #11 packs quite the emotional punch. While last issue’s heartbreaking cliffhanger turns out not so bad – though questionable in its understanding of physics – not everyone is making it out of this one alive.
The opening splash page of Saga #11 is a shocker, but not in a distasteful way. In fact, it’s a pretty humorous parallel to the opening panels of the first issue. Then it was birth, this time it’s conception. They may be refugees from opposite warring factions in a galaxy unlike anything we know, but Marko and Alana love and fight like any couple. You can’t help but envy their relationship, it’s so genuine. When arguing they exchange these hilariously dirty retorts, and it really adds something to their believability. Vaughn excels at this kind of characterization. And while we’re left with everyone still in a perilous situation without much progression of plot, the ramifications of this book are devastating. Somehow, in only 11 issues, Vaughn has introduced us to a family you cannot help but sympathize with, so much so we react as if we’re a part of it. You feel their loss.
Playing just as crucial a role as Vaughn’s words, is Fiona Staples’ art. I couldn’t imagine another artist capable of giving the book the pathos she does. There’s a particularly beautiful flashback sequence where all the dialogue is written in another language, but it doesn’t hurt your understanding of the scene one bit, the artwork sells it. She even manages to make that opening splash page, the conception of Hazel, provocative without being lewd.
Saga continues to be the best book I read. Every month it not only doesn’t disappoint, but surprises me with its honesty.