Saturday, 26 August 2017

Saga Book 7 (#37-42)

"Families are goddamn wildfires.  They might start out small, but brother, watch them grow". - Hazel

Look we're up to Book 7 of this series and about a zillion different characters have appeared I can't summarise it all in one introduction.  If you haven't been following, go read the previous posts, go on shoo.  I always appreciate the hits.  Anyway this series by writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples tells the story of a war between the planet of Landfall and its ornery little moon Wreath.  A war that has grown to encompass most of the galaxy as planets take sides and go to war as well.  But a Landfall woman called Alana and a Wreathian man called Marko fell in love, eloped and had a child called Hazel.  Much happened as they turned into something of target for both sides trying to cover up that they existed,  immediately prior to this book Hazel was captured and spent several years in a prison, after her family was split up due to events.  But finally she was rescued and one of her fellow prisoners a somewhat salty transwoman Wreathian called Petrichor came along as well.  Now the reunited Alana, Marko and Hazel are travelling back in their wooden spaceship to drop off Prince Robot VI and reunite him with his son after he got caught up in their shenanigans as Petrichor makes clothes for the new baby because Alana is pregnant again.   The story is narrated by Hazel from some point in the future and this six issue volume contains the first major arc, "The War For Phang".

Marko and Alana are watching their daughter sleep and are so happy to have her back.  Alana says they need to tell her she's going to have a sibling. Marko says she should take a test first, but Alana says she's late and craving roast beef sandwiches, "and those things completely gross me out unless I'm knocked up".  Marko says pregnacy between their species is a dangerous thing but Alana thinks everything they were taught about the incompatibility of their races was just propaganda to keep them apart.
Marko and Alana together with Hazel.
Marko says that Hazel is still processing how to be part of a family again, but Alana says she's five years old and pulled off something she never did, "my little girl's going to be a big sister."  She then embraces Marko and says "we are so fucking lucky".  And of course it's then something goes wrong with the ship.

Elsewhere onboard, Prince Robot VI is naked and trying to orgasm from masturbation, he tugs away saying, "come on, you bastard let's clear out this cannon before it backfires."  But he doesn't see to be having much luck and one of the images in his head is Alana.  Hazel comments that there had been a time when Prince Robot VI wanted to kill her parents with his both hands.  "Thankfully, my folks had a way of growing on people" she goes on to say.

Well some of them anyway.  Izabel the ghost babysitter is chatting with Petrichor who is spinning away making a romper suit, "earning my keep for our new prison wardens."  Izabel asks why not some nice maternity gear but Petrichor says she won't dress a "filthy Landfallian".  She is grateful for the ride but hopes Alana and Prince Robot VI gets sucked out during a hull breach.

She notes that Hazel is still missing her grandmother and all her friends from the detention area.   Izabel says she's been sitting for Hazel since she was a newborn, she'll be OK.  Petrichor wonders if she's told others she's trans.  Izabel says, "who even cares, Petri?"  Petrichor looks a little sad and replies quietly, "you have no idea."
Izabel said Hazel had to keep the truth of her own body a secret so she understands the value of privacy.   Petrichor asks if she does, Izabel points to her missing lower half saying, "lady, does it look like I give a shit what anybody's got going on below the waist?" 
Petrichor and Izabel.
Petrichor asks why Izabel chooses that form.  Izabel said it's because it was ow she looked last time she drew breath and also she has a sweet musical band T-shirt she got from the final show of "Pyrosis" before they broke up.   Petrichor is impressed Izabel saw them live.  Then the orange lights reach them and Hazel runs in saying "You guys, come quick.  Sounds like something real bad is happening!"

They all congregate in the engine room, including Prince Robot VI, "what have you sex criminals ruined this time?" It seems a fuel artery has sprung a leak and they are running on fumes.   If they toss the magic helmet into the furnace it'll get them enough thrust to reach the next system.   They have no alternative, they are going to have to land and refuel on Phang.

This godforsaken place was also caught up in the Landfall and Wreath war.   An exotic land made up of thousands of species who all hated each other.   They are ruled by either a duly elected president or dictator depending who you asked.  A violent insurrection rose up and the interstellar community was forced to choose between a government and its people.  So the Landfallians and Wreathians took opposing sides. The war was more for territory than helping the people of Pheng, the comet has fuel in spades.

Hazel: "Over the years, wave after wave of young soldiers gave their lives to ensure that their enemies never seized control of this motherlode. The locals had a pretty rough time of it too.  the infrastructure was a shambles, Phang was left with only one real export.  Refugees."

We then cut to Sophie and Lying Cat, now on Wreath.  Sophie admits she misses her home a little but everyone she loves are on Wreath.  Gwendolyn walks over to her and Sophie says she has applied to intern with a real Freelancer.
Sophie and Lying Cat.
Gwendolyn asks why she would let her best page do such a stupid thing. Sophie says she wants to pay her back, finish what The Will never did.  She says she saved enough to start paying her union dues, she wants to take care of Gwendolyn's evil ex-boyfriend, Marko.

Gwendoln says that's sweet of her but she is over Marko.  Sophie says that Marko is the reason Gwendolyn doesn't have a better job on Wreath.  Gwendolyn says it's not that simple and when Lying Cat starts saying "Lyin...ghh?" he finds Gwendolyn's stick in her mouth.  She tells her to take a walk. Sophie pleads with her saying she knows how "abusive creeps like Marko think".  But Gwendolyn says it's time to find out if Sophie has any family left, Sophie asks why now, things can't get worse on Phang where she is from.

Back in the wooden spaceship and after some back and forth between them all regarding whose army did what to the comet the ship lands.

Hazel: "Every new world we visted was an adventure.  And few adventures ended worse than this."

Petrichor strides out and discovers a small, meerkat looking alien who says his name is Kurti and he is really hungry. When Petrichor tells him they have food inside, he asks will it be enough for all of them and over ten more pop up behind him.
Izabel tries to frighten them off with her illusion powers but Kurti and the others can see through them.  Prince Robot IV comes outside with Hazel and he and Izabel exchange a few insults.  Kurti says he doesn't understand, "wings and horns and ghosts and androids.. working together?"  Petrichor snaps, "fucking hardly."  Marko tells Kurti he and his wife are conscientious objectors.

Prince Robot VI says they are deserters "masquerading as peacemongers."  Petrichor agrees.  One of the other little aliens says they don't care who they are, their homes have been destroyed and they have been wandering for ages.  All they want is a little water and Hazel says they have lots and can she show them?  Marko and Alana share a look then say of course she can.

Marko tells Alana they can't turn them away in front of their daughter. Alana says she just wants to get out of here as fast as they can.  The comet's soil is rich with energy so it should take no time.  Hazel notes they were always bad at estimating how long things would take. They thought they'd be on Phang for a few hours, "we were there for six months".

The family grows.
We then cut to a very pregnant Alana, she is overseeing mealtime for the meerkat aliens.  One of them, the elder Jabarah gives her a bracelet to mark the birth of her son.  Alana says she doesn't know the sex of her baby but Jabarah says she knows by the way she holds her in her belly.  She thanks Alana saying their ship could have left weeks ago but it's been tasked with providing for the tribe.  "Our tribe" Jabarah says holding Alana's hand.

Elsewhere Marko and Petrichor are keeping an eye out for any fighting coming close by.  She says it was stupid to align with the clan of beasts.  Marko says they are saints, but Petrichor says that when she was stationed here one of them blew itself up at a checkpoint and killed three of her best men.  Marko says you can't judge a people based on the actions of a few.  Petrichor turns her back and says:

Petrichor: "Yes, I'm we aware of your niave beliefs.  I just hope I'm gone by the time you find out how wrong you've been."

Izabel finds Hazel and Kurt exploding bugs with Hazel's magic.  Izabel scolds them, but Hazel says she's not the boss of her and runs off. Future Hazel snarks, "what, like you were never a vicious little asshole when you were that age?"
Chekov's spell in action.
Watching, Price Robot VI says as his mother used to say "kids are a drag".  Izabel says she sounds like a "cunt".  Prince Robot VI says it's a fair assessment.   He's decided that he wants to be reunited with his son whose birthday is in a weeks time and he has no intention of missing it.  He's going to trek through several warzones to check an abandoned Robot Kingdom embassy in the hope he can find enough fuel to launch them off the place.

Izabel says she'll go, she can be his advance team. She's not doing it for him but for Hazel and her parents. He doesn't understand why she is so loyal to people have her in indetured servitude.  But Izabel says Marko and Alana have overpaid her.  They treated her like their flesh and blood and "they showed me the universe."

Hazel: "While my family enjoyed the world's longest pitstop, the various forces that wanted us dead were still hard at work. Some harder than others."

We then cut to The Will and his companion, a dog called Sweet Boy. He rings on a doorbell and a Wreathian woman answers.  He tells her he is trying to get in touch with Gwendolyn and the woman says that's her wife. Her name is Velour and tells The Will that Gwendolyn and Sophie are in Cerfurbo for a week, on "High Command business". The Will asks what kind of business and she says, "none of yours" and slams the door in his face.  Sweet Boy laughs as they walk away.

Izabel is doing some scouting and comes across a man with two heads, he's another Freelancer called The March and he has a little boar companion called "Bootstraps" (one of the heads appears to be female, but I'm going to stick with calling The March "him" just because it's easier, sorry).  He tells her he is looking for Marko, she denies knowing him but he says she can only be here if she had been attached to a baby.  Izabel babbles and tries to get away but he throws a lasso at her and actually captures her with it.
The March.
He tells her that "you ghouls aren't as untouchable as you'd like to think."  He says if she tells him where Marko is he'll let her go.   If she doesn't there is no coming back from the killing he'll inflict on her.  She says she doesn't want to die again, then defiantly asks if she should tell "the ugly bitch or the uglier bitch?"  He runs her through with his sword as Future Hazel remembers how she say the same things as she tucked her in at night, "Be a good girl tommorrow.. but not too good".  And Izabel explodes. Elsewhere Hazel cries out in pain as future Hazel muses, "No babysitter sticks around for ever... but the best ones never really leave you, do they?"

We then cut to Kurti as he brandishes a rifle he found, the others start playing with it and accidentally fire it.  Alana appears and asks what "the fuck is wrong with you kids?!"  Kurt whispers that she "said a cuss". Alana confiscates the weapon, then Hazel comes running in to the kitchen where the others are saying she can feel that Izabel has gone, she can feel it.

Prince Robot VI admits that she had gone to check for reserves of fuel, it's not like she could be killed again, "can she..?" Hazel cries that she was mean to her and now she's dead.   Marko says he is sure he can track her down. But Petrichor says she'll go and look for her, Marko is a wanted man whereas she most likely won't run into a soldier who knows her.

The Will is enjoying some downtime on Wreath in a titty bar.  He is contacted by his Freelancer rep who note he hasn't taken a job in months.  He says he'll get back to getting Marko and Alana and the baby, but he is told that assignment has been transferred to a "better-reveiewed" Freelancer - The March.  Insurance says he also failed his last drug test and so The Will is fired.
The Will, not in great shape right now.
Also the rep is shutting down so if he wants to appeal it'll have to be with a different one. Business is lousy for them right now.  A few years ago the powers that be would outsource their work but now they are happy to get their own hands dirty.  As he tells The Will this, The Will is being attacked by what appears to be the strippers boyfriend.

The Will tries to uses his lance on it but that was deactivated as soon as he was fired. He is no longer authorised to legally terminate individuals.  His rep wishes him luck as The Will breaks off the Wreathian mans horn and stabs him with it and he slumps to the floor as the Wreathian staggers off and the rep calls him "Billy", no longer is he The Will.

Back with our main cast, Hazel is sitting and thinking.  Kurti comes up to her as she asks if he believes in Paradise?   He says he does, and they wonder together what it must be like.  Hazel thinks it might just be "a fakey story they tell.  Like the Feather Fairy".  Kurti asks what the Feather Fairy is and Hazel tells him that one day a feather from her wings fell out and that scared her, but Izabel told her that the Feather Fairy would trade her a gift for every feather she put under her pillow.  But she just got marbles that Izabel put there.

Hazel: "There are no fairies.  It's just like Paradise, another made-up like they tell us so we won't be scared.  But we should be.  We should be scared."

Kurti is still pondering how Izabel could physically put marbles under her pillow.  Hazel says she is going to kiss him now and they gently kiss on the lips (Kurti is a kid too).
Hazel and Kurti get closer.
Petrichor is ready to leave to look for Izabel.  She insists of going alone, refusing to take the rifle saying they might need it. She tells Alana she has the future to think about, "and you've surrounded yourself with people who only think of the past."

We then cut to The March exploring the abandoned Robot Kingdom Embassy.  It looks like they all killed each other. One is still alive though missing his lower half, he asks for a bottle of "Juniperus" to drink before he expires.  The March says he'll pour him a drink if he tells him what happened here.

The March asks if this is to do with the current targets but the Ambassador says it's larger than that.  They uncovered something shocking they were going to share with their hosts here on Phang but there was a "disagreement" between them and the Royal Gaurd as to whethere or not this was a prudent course of action.

The plan is underway, "they intend to exterminate every living thing on this comet".  The March asks who the hell is "they", the Horns or the Wings?  The Ambassador just laughs saying "or?" and then expires.  The March says "dammit.  I always wanted to see how these freaks drink." And he downs the booze instead.
The March and Bootstraps.
We then return to Prince Robot VI having a dream, he's riding a pegasus and talking to his son, Squire who calls him a "good father, but a terrible man".  Prince Robot VI asks how he could call him a good father?  Then Squire turns into Izabel and he says he had worried he had lead her spirit to its doom.  She says he did but it's a far cry from the worst thing he's done and she turns into a girl with a hole in her forehead.

Watching him sleep and looking at the images playing across his screen are Hazel and Kurti who note that his dreams are always creepy.  Kurti says it's more interesting that reading sacred scrolls with his cousin.  He then tells her that with Izabel gone Hazel will be the sitter for the new baby because that's how it goes in his family. Hazel says it's not fair, she just got mum and dad back and now she has to share them.  Then Prince Robot VI wakes up and they run off as he yells at them.

Marko and Jabarah are watching a battle taking place in the distance.  He wonders why the Wreath forces to the north are suddenly retreating, they have the Landfallians outnumbered ten to one, "since when do my people run from those odds?"  Jabarah hands him a sword saying they should be prepared to fight.   But Marko refuses to take it saying he wants nothing to do with instruments of death again.

Jabarah says that he mustn't be scared, the blade is only as good or evil as the person who wields it. "I'm not fucking scared!" yells Marko.  He then asks Jabarah to forgive him, Phang was the first place he killed someone.  Holding a sword was as exhilarating as holding his daughter for the first time, "more so on my worst days". While they talk, The March is watching them through a telescope.
Marko admits his struggles with his violent nature to Jabarah.
Back on Wreath, Sophie and Gwendolyn are walking to a small shed. Gwendolyn tells Sophie if she isn't out in fifteen minutes, "tell my wife I died somewhere exotic".  She goes inside and down some steps into a larger underground room.  There she meets a Landfallian man called Gale.  Gwendolyn hands him a box saying it's exactly what "you assholes requested" and Lying Cat confirms she is telling the truth.

She says she is concerned for the rest of Phang, can they guarantee civilians won't be harmed.  Gale says they will relocate as many locals as possible, but this is foremost about "bringing a dignified end to a theatre of war that's already cost both our sides way to much."  She says is that all Phang is to them, a "theatre?"  Gale walks off saying that if anything goes wrong with this, Wreath High Command will have her executed long before she can rat them out to the press.  Neither of them notice Sophie was peeking behind them and heard it all.

Back on Phang, Petrichor is searching for Izabel.  Then a giant mushroom speaks to her saying perhaps it can help.   It says it's a "Bluecap" planted in places of conflict to remember the battles fought there.  Petrichor asks if she has seen a spirit pass this way.   The Bluecap says it hasn't, no one resides here anymore the peple were evacuated at gunpoint.  Petrichor asks why, what is coming?  The Bluecap tells her "the real question is... where are we going?" And we get a double page spread of Phang heading towards a giant figure floating in space.
Petrichor chats with a giant talking mushroom.
Back on Phang, Alana is examing her belly in the mirror. Prince Robot VI appears and asks if she is okay? She says the baby is just kicking hard. He says he wants to speak to her in private and the word "LUST" appears on his screen. Alana realises he is high.  He had kept the last of Yuma's Fadeaway stash himself and took it five minutes ago.

He says he sees himself in "high definition" and realises he has feelings for her and points his gun arm at her.  He tells her his feelings aren't sexual, he thinks she'll be " an excellent mother to my son". Then he puts the gun to his head and says, "please help him be a better man than I was."
Prince Robot VI is depressed.
Petrichor has returned and tells Jabarah that they're all going to die, she didn't find any sign of Izabel but the Bluecap told her why everyone is abandoning this comet, "we're about to crash into a goddamn Timesuck". Jabarah says the Bluecaps are unreliable, but Petrichor says she saw it and it'll happen within the hour.  Jabarah says God will keep their homeland safe, much to the vexation of Petrichor.  Then she asks why Jabarah is lookout and she says she relieved Marko so he could put Hazel and Kurt to bed.  Petrichor sniffs the air, picking up the scent of expensive bodywash, "or am I losing my mind?"

Inside Prince Robot VI is still holding his gun-arm to his head, "right. Safe travels then". Alana pleads with him not to do this, she says his son would be haunted by this.  Prince Robot VI says he is doing what's right and she sees an image of herself in bondage gear on his screen.  Prince Robot VI implores her to look away, then Marko comes in and the drugged up Prince points his gun at him.

As the words "Sorry" appear on his screen, he shouts "die Moon cunt" at Marko and blasts him, but Marko has his shield and manages to protect himself just being rendered unconcious.  Prince Robot VI realises what he's done but then Alana wallops him across the back of his head with an ornament and he's down for the count as well.

Meanwhile Hazel and Kurti are playing hide-and-seek. Unfortunately it's then that The March appears and grabs Kurti telling him that if he tells him where the family he is after is, he won't hurt him or his loved ones. Kurti just tells him his "breaths smell bad".  So The March holds his sword to Kurti's throat and walks out into the open saying he requests an audience with "foot soldier Marko".
Shit starts to go down.
Looking down Alana can only swear, "God fucking dammit".  The March says that his piggy Bootstraps followed Izabel's "stench" here, oh and he killed her and he'll do the same to Kurti unless Marko comes out.  Hazel is sitting with her hands over her ears while Future Hazel says it was always the sound of violence that bothered her more than the sight.

Hazel: "To this day, I still prefer the silence of space to the rhythmic din of worlds like my mom and dad's.  Peace always sounded nice... but peace and quiet is the dream".

We rejoin Sophie, Lying Cat and Gwendolyn.  Sophie is irritated that they are collaborating with Landfall.  Gwendolyn spouts some excuse that this is for the good of Wreath but before an argument can ensue, The Ex-Will, now just Billy appears with Sweet Boy. 

He tells them that he's come to try and make things right with his old partner Lying Cat and maybe Sophie could come with him and learn to be a proper Freelancer.  "Lying?" says Lying Cat.  He then admits he's not a Freelancer at the moment but he could start showing Sophie the ropes as he makes things right with the union.  Gwendolyn puts a protective hand on Sophie's shoulder.

Sophie says she can make her own decisions. She goes up to Billy and tells him she'll always be in his debt for rescuing her from the nightmare she was trapped in. 

Sophie: "But working with Gwendolyn has shown me there are ways to change the lives of millions, not just the individual men like you are paid to hurt."

Her place is on Wreath but if Lying Cat wants to go with him she won't stand in her way.  We then get a shot of Lying Cat siting between Billy and Sophie... then she slinks behind Sophie having made her choice.  Saddened Billy leaves them saying "Good luck with your politicking ladies" as he walks off into the sunset.
Oh Lying Cat, you so cute.
Back on Phang, The March is giving them one last chance to come out.  Hazel whimpers about what she is going to do, but Jabarah puts a hand over her mouth as Petrichor shushes her.  Then Alana appears armed with the rifle, "hurt the boy and I separate you two.  Painfully".  She says they'll pay double to get rid of him, but he says that she has no idea how much "the Moonies are willing to spend to have you and Marko eliminated". He goes onto say that actually they're fortunate he found them because they at least want their "half-breed kid alive" unlike the Landfallians who want them all dead.

Alana bluffs that Marko left weeks ago with Hazel, but perhaps they can make a deal for the other half-breed he left her with.  He calls her bluff and incapacitates her with his sword whip.  Petrichor mutters that the blast radius is too tight, she'll hurt Kurt as well.  At that, Hazel bites Jabarah's hand and able to speak, casts a spell that makes small explosions round The March which startles him into dropping Kurti.

He grins that it was a cute trick but now she should get down here and kiss her mama goodbye.  And then he is absolutely riddled with holes from the laser rifle and falls down dead in a pool of blood. Everyone looks on in paralysed shock as the shooter is revealed to be arch-pacifist Marko.
Marko will shed blood to defend his family.
On Wreath in Gwendolyn's home, Sophie is doing her hair and asks her what she thinks hell will be like.  She's feeling awful about what is going to happen to Phang.  Gwendolyn says that the only way they are damned to hell is if one of the countless lives they save turns out to be a mass murderer.  She also says that they are doing the people of Phang a favour, what have their lives been like "trapped in an endless crossfire of some asshole despot and whatever underfunded resistance he's up again this month?"

Sophie says she recognises that war can't be won without casualties, but how many are too many?  Gwendolyn says it varies by battlefield, she can't give her an exact number.  Sophie then asks is there really a hell?  Gwendolyn says of course there is and it's reserved for the Landfallians who started this.  She tells Sophie not to speak of this in front of Velour and Sophie says she wouldn't have mentioned this but she's been having bad dreams and... then Velour arrives with cupcakes and Sophie is happy again.

Inside the wooden spaceship, Prince Robot VI is tied to a chair, he wakes up and his first words are "Oh. Oh no.  Alana and her baby..?"  Marko says they're OK no thanks to him, he nearly got them all killed.

Prince Robot VI: "So why the bloody fuck haven't you cut off my head yet?"

Marko draws his sword saying, "good question" and moves to strike.  Then Petrichor appears saying he'll be cleaner to execute once they are out in the vacuum and she brings fuel!  Turns out The March left his vehicle outside their camp and she was able to drive back to the Robot Kingdom embassy and find some there, and Izabel is to thank for that.
Fuel! Time to go finally.
They are getting ready to go and hopefully will escape the Timesuck.  Alana and Hazel are rounding up the tribe who they have offered a ride to.   Hazel is drawing a thankyou card to give to her dad for killing The March, Alana isn't sure Marko would want one.  Then Jabarah comes up and returns Marko's blade saying they won't be coming.

Alana freaks out saying they'll all die.  But Jabarah has faith they'll escape.  Alana says even if they do there is nothing but ruins for them.  Jabarah says the Creator will provide for them.  Alana points the rifle at them ordering Jabarah to call her people now.  Jabarah bids her farewell saying that she hopes their new baby will be "as perfectly joyous as your first" and if they are looking for a name, "might I suggest Kurti?" In their tongue it means "sunshine" and she leaves.  Hazel says she didn't even get to say goodbye, Future Hazel reflects:

Hazel: "The more you care about someone, the more likely it is that your eventual parting of ways will be as sudden as it is baffling".

Meanwhile Billy is having hallucination sex with his dead old girlfriend The Stalk while his dead older sister The Brand watches.  His sister sighs and says there has got to be a more efficient way to masturbate than gnawing on tainted meat and fantasizing about old girlfriends.  Then suddenly Sweet Boy is shot in the head.  A masked figure appears and tells Billy he killed someone they loved, and they shoot Billy in the gut saying "... so this is gonna be a kind of process."

Then we cut to some Robots watching Phang and they say that it's going to pass through the Timesuck unscathed.  Then they are attacked by some Landfallians disguised as terrorist group The Last Revolution.  They take the controls of the observatory and insert the glowing cube Gwendolyn had passed onto Gale, saying "this is for all the guys Phang took from us."  And a white light spirals out of the observatory and into the mouth of the Timesuck.
I don't think my heart can take much more..
On Phang they all rush to the ship but it's knocked about and Alana takes a huge hit and the fuel cube falls out.  Now it's hot but Petrichor manages to pick it up and put it back and the ship blasts off.  Marko holds his ears to Alana's stomach and when she asks if he can hear the baby's heartbeat, he says nothing and starts to cry.  Future Hazel closes out this volume over the images of her parents weeping and Kurti dying on Phang with the following words:

Hazel: "You know that old cliche about millions of deaths being a statistic.. while the loss of one life is a tragedy?  If that's true, what is it when you lose something that never even had the chance to be born?"
There are five lights Brian! Five lights!!!
Jesus.  BKV you sadist.  Everytime I read a new volume I am filled with trepidation because I know I am going to get punched hard in the feels.  And this was the worst/best yet.  Giving us an adorable tribe of critters who WOULD have survived as their faith said they would if not for the rampant politicking that saw Phang designated a sacrifice.  And to have Gwendolyn, Sophie and Lying Cat be party to it is just horrible.  And while I guessed Alana might lose the baby, it still was rough when it happened.  They all seemed so happy before, living in a little community for five months until Izabel's death and the arrival of The March kicked things into high gear.  And losing her was a shock, she'd been in the story since day one.  While I am glad The March got killed, I just want to know what'll happen to his piggy Bootstraps.  I hope it snuck on the ship when no one was looking.  It's amazing how multi-layered the characters are, for example Prince Robot VI when he comes round his first thoughts are of Alana and the baby, not himself.  Who could have predicted that several volumes ago?  And The Will, now Billy is sympathetically portrayed on a huge downward spiral, Lying Cat's rejection of him, while a lovely moment for Sophie, manages to be a tragic one for him.  No one wants him and he's left poisoning himself to conjure visions to keep him company while he tries to wank.  BKV's writing is so impressive and it's married to art by Fiona Staples that just gets better and better.  There doesn't seem to be anything she can't imbue with depth and personality with her fine linework and delicate colouring.  She does ALL the art and there hasn't been a single fill-in artist since the story began.  Truly impressive.  Young Hazel is a spirited girl and it's cool seeing the beginnings of the snarky philosopher that Future Hazel will become in her.  Seeing her finally get to act like a kid, playing with Kurti and just hanging with someone her own age was lovely and of course makes the final images of his death all the more upsetting, I genuinely had tears in my eyes by then.  As per usual it'll feel like another long wait until Book Eight comes out now.


  1. Do you want a spoiler to the beginning of volume 8? (Issue #43, so the one right after this, cliffhanger.) :3

    So *SPOILER!* (Only click these if you really want to see this.)
    Page 01 (Not full)
    Page 02
    Page 03

  2. LLALALALAA. Not clicking sorry :P You temptress you. I'm waiting unspoiled until January when vol. 8 comes out.

  3. *Evil laugh!*

    If it's any consolation if you were reading in issues there are only 3 more out. So I read approx half a book more than you did. And no, the cliffhangers are not much better that way either. :/

  4. He does seem to save his most emotionally charged cliffhangers for every six issues though. Still it says something about how invested you get in everyone in the story that every chapter/issue ends with you desperate to find out what happens next.

  5. This is like Eastenders, in SPAAAACCCE! Every episode should end with that drum bit.

    I'm loving the artwork on this. I know you mention it's the same artist all the way through, but it does seem to have sharpened up over time. Maybe it's just as they get more familiar with the characters, or possibly a deadline thing.

    I'll miss ghost girl, she was kewl.

    Does anyone else find themselves pronouncing Prince Robot as if they were Dr Zoidberg (if not, I bet you will from now on)

    So sad about the little panda raccoon people. Is this a bit of a plug for atheism? Or just a general bit of punch in the gut drama; which seems to be a bit of a theme here.

    I too will not fall for Malitia's temptations! I am looking forward to finding out what happens next though.

    Lying cat, Billy and Sophie reminded me of that classic Disney thing where they try to work out who owns a horse/dog etc. I was rather hoping they'd all end up as a bit of an adoptive family. Families take on many forms seems to be the underlying ethos on this story. Hopefully that'll happen by the end. Or knowing this author they'll just be about to do that, then they'll all get hit by a truck.

    (don't know if you've seen my latest email btw, would love to pick your brains on something)

  6. Fiona Staples art was always great, but now it's grrrreat. She must have a cat of her own because she nails Lying Cat's body language. The way she slinks shamefaced behind Sophie is one of my favourite panels of the book. Lying Cat, Sophie and Billy/The Will did start out as an adoptive family but events drove them apart and if the series overall can be said to have a theme is it's about adapting and moving on.

    The little meerkat people would have survived, they were going to skirt the Timesuck (which looked amazing but was on a double page spread). I had a choice between using a the page that showed the cube activating and pushing Phang into the path of the Timesuck or Marko and Alana realising they lost the baby. I chose the latter because I'm a sadist.

  7. So... then here is something totally different from Kieron Gillen's Siege tie-in for Secret Wars (2015):


  8. Yes! Lying Cat is totally a thing now and I am buying myself a Lying Cat T-shirt as soon as I can afford it :D

  9. Also that "Kitty Pride" pun *groan* lol.

    @Alan: It might just be AOL at fault but I couldn't find a new email from you in my inbox. I'll check again later in case there's been a hiccup somewhere along the line.

  10. @varalys

    That's Kieron Gillen's writing for you. People on his twitter routinely wonder if he'll eventually metamorphose into a being of pure pun. :D

  11. Bahah! Also I like the commentator saying it would be like a smaller, boozier Danny The Street. Danny was one of my favourite gay um.. sentient streets in all of comics.

  12. I wanted to comment something about overly narrow superlative, but "sentient street" might be a bigger demographic in comics than I ever imagined. :3

  13. Ah but Danny was faaaaaabulous! I miss DC having crazy stuff like that. He got brought back into the main DCU after time in the Vertigoverse and somewhat diminished (he was a bungalow) but that was Doom Patrol's last incarnation (I have covered the two volumes of that final run here) and for some reason DC refuses to ever bring them back after they were cancelled prior to the New 52.

  14. Umm... I think there is an ongoing Doom Patrol comic right now. It started fairly recently, but as far as I know there isn't a trade just yet.

  15. WHAT?! *Sits up like a meerkat alien and quickly googles*


    *sobs into hanky and pre-preorders the trade.*

    Seriously thanks for bringing it to my attention. This is what happens when you are avoiding DC fandom in the Artic with your head in a bucket of tar.

  16. Woah in fact the first trade is actually out. THAT's going top of my birthday list.

  17. (After last time with the Gotham Academy news, it feels being the bringer of good news sorta nice.)

  18. I don't watch DC news that closely but the bigger stuff does reach me. Like I know they're currently in the middle of an event too (Metal) even if that's all I know about it (my educated guess is that Marvel's Secret Empire (which I valiantly try to ignore) overshadows it with its shittyness). ^^;

  19. Good News from DC lands is always well received. Ah but crossovers, I've a few trades covering the core releases of various Marvel and DC events, but I do tend to resent how they'll take over the events of the series involved and if you didn't follow the crossover, be left with a bewildering intrusion in the trade you are trying to read. I get cranky when I have to visit wikipedia to figure out what crossover was going on when during write-ups.

  20. I always pray for Al Ewing to be the writer when any of my titles is hit by a crossover. He is pretty much the only writer at Marvel I trust to keep the story readable standalone while tie-in. :/

  21. I've done a couple of posts of a thing written by Mr. Al. And oddly it's a crossover! Between three of the major Dreddverse series in 2000AD. It's magnificent.

  22. Dumb question probably but is Danny the Street a reference to Danny La Rue?

    Glad to see Lying Cat cropping up in other stuff. See what you mean about how the artwork really encapsulates genuine cat behaviour. Fun fact about the lions in Trafalgar Square. The artist modelled them on his dog. So if you notice, they lie like dogs and not cats. Secondary fun fact. They're the second attempt. The rejected first ones now adorn Leeds City Hall.

    I've resent the email. Hope you get it this time. Had a minor panic that I'd autofilled the wrong name on 'to:'

    I'm now wondering whether the timesuck is a reference to Vonnegutt's 'chonosynclastic infidulum'.

    This series though is so spot on. It's one of the nearest things I've seen to 2000AD in its heyday.

  23. Danny is most definitely named after Danny La Rue. The street even cross dresses!

    I did not know that about the Trafalgar Square Lions. I like the fact the first didn't go to waste. Lying Cat is definitely becoming iconic, there's a million different T-shirt designs available with her on now.

    It does have a feel of 2000AD about it, like if Halo Jones had run to all nine volumes as planned.

  24. Oh an Danny speaks Polari just to tie into what we were discussing before.

    I got your email again, but I'd already answered that one, did you not get it?

  25. WARNING: Some things seen cannot be unseen! (Not spoiler though. Not even Saga related.)

    I DARE!

  26. Bona sci-fi.

    We don't have any cross dressing streets. But the Penzance Christmas decorations do look like pants.

    Hmm, can't find your email. It's AOL though so it's probably been delivered to back in 1995 and is taking the "long road". Actually that's a trope I really like. And that hiding messages from people trapped in the past. I've always fancied depositing an envelope at a solicitors with instructions to open it on some date in the future. Then just have a series of further envelopes that are ultimately addressed to someone in 2054 saying "Hopefully the Earth is now saved, please pick us up." Just to see if they peek. Actually you could have some fun with that. "Trump is now elected. The earth will soon be ripe for conquest. This time victory shall be ours. All hail our glorious Queen Z'rsthxzzy!"

    Asimov wrote End of Eternity after he spotted what seemed to be an anachronistic depiction of an atomic explosion in an old journal. It turned out to be something else, but it gave him the idea. I think the best evidence for time travel is the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand. The real events are so full of improbable coincidences it does seem like someone from the future was having multiple attempts.

    I wonder what would happen if you asked lying cat whether she wanted to go outside? If she's anything like a real cat her head would probably explode with the contradictory answers.

  27. @Alan

    "is taking the "long road". Actually that's a trope I really like."

    Sooooo like this? (Also the mission only she could do. :D )

  28. I like those boxer shorts. Hmm, got a bit of a pants theme developing.

    (I like in Family Guy where Stewie takes the long road back from Leonardo da Vinci's workshop and brings Brian a present, a scented candle.

    "it never occured to you to pick up one of his drawings?"

    "I'm not hearing a thank you")

  29. Slightly o/t but here's another nice article about my heroine Edith Garrud.

  30. AOL!! *shakes fist*

    I liked Cracked's extrapolations of what happened because Gavrilo Princip decided to go for a sandwich that fateful day after the first assassination attempts failed. Including the rise of Hitler, WW2, the Atomic bombs and... hippies.

  31. And all because some bloke called Archie Duke shot an ostrich because he was hungry.

    You're a bit of a hoplophile, so you may enjoy this IPlayer series about the history of weapons.

    Now you may not have known, I didn't, that Ferdinand had a bulletproof vest. They were ridiculous prices, something like £30k (at the time!). But this lass actually reproduced one to the original design. They then shot it with an identical pistol (even down to the same month of manufacture). The bullet just bounced off. Unfortunately for Ferdinand he was shot in the neck so it's a bit superfluous.

    The vests were modelled on samurai armour (layers of silk and fabric) so that'll tick your otaku box too.

    It's a great series though. Lots of "ooh, I never knew that" facts, so right up my street. Also swords.

  32. I did know that anout the bulletproof vest and getting throat shot. I actually did Causes Of The First World War as a A'level History module. I got an A as well.

    I'll check out that series cheer. Just gotta tear myself away from Skyrim...

  33. Ooh that would have been so cool. I didn't do A level history. So I just got as far as our schools own syllabus. Which was basically:

    When the Roman empire was run from Yorkshire
    When the viking empire was run from Yorkshire
    The wars of the Roses (and why Richard 3 should have won)
    The civil war (from the perspective of top Yorkshire general Lord Fairway)

    That's pretty typical though as you'll know. If you want to find out what's happening in Lancashire from the Yorkshire Post you have to look in the 'foreign affairs' section.

  34. At least I wasn't taught that any empires were ever run from here.

    Hungarian history classes are more prone to focus on the "woe us" stuff. And finding continuity no matter how flimsy. I mean half of our history is "well, and then we were occupied by X".

    Some X-es in the order of appearance:
    - Mongolian empire (but we were the heroes getting rid of them!)
    - Ottoman empire (but Transylvania*!)
    - Hapsburg empire (We were totes resisting and almoooost independent by the end guys! We've all the failed revolutions to prove it.)
    - USSR (Actually we brought the Iron Curtain down! Thank us!)

    * That topic is very good for causing Hungarian-Romanian flame wars. ^^; (The gist of it: It had a majority Romanian populace ruled by a majority Hungarian nobility, both claim that the other doesn't matter/exist.)

  35. My A'level was all European history. Causes of the first world war, unification of Germany, two consecutive modules on Russian history - from Catherine The Great to the first Russian Revolution and so on. I actually had offers to do History BA's at Sussex and Exeter, but I wanted to do Media Studies instead. Much more interesting.

  36. There's an anecdotes about some euro aristocrat who was a diplomat at the UN when someone mentioned about a football match. "It's the Austria Hungary game"

    "Oh, who are we playing?"

  37. Also, now you've got me drinking manga flavoured kool aid, I'd quite like this on a t-shirt

    I don't wear clothes with writing on except for training so this is perfect

  38. @Alan

    So that person missed WWI somehow. O.o


    Some random thingy from Spider-Gwen: Behold THE WATCHER

  39. @Alan, lol. Dodgy fansubs are one of the joys of anime fandom!

    @Malitia: Hah! Would have thought The Watcher would have a flatscreen telly though...