I loved the first two volumes of this graphic novel series (see my review here) and the third does not disappoint in the slightest. As I noted in my review of the other books…
“This is a series in which the females are all formidable, amazing, powerful and tough, and the guys are sensitive, nurturing, and have ‘an appalling sense of moral relativism.’ And that’s just one of the entertaining aspects of this remarkably creative and at times hilarious collection.”
The story is told from the point of view of Hazel, who is born at the beginning of the series. Her parents, Marko and Alana, are of two different and warring species, but they have defied convention (and law) by falling in love. Now they must live on the run, as members of both species want to kill them and their child, because showing that the war might not be necessary would be anathema to each side. They are accompanied on their flight by Marko’s recently widowed mother, and by Hazel’s nanny, the spirit Izabel.
In alternating chapters, we follow the adventures of some of the mercenaries who are chasing Marko and his family, including a killer for hire named “The Will” – now collaborating with Marko’s ex-girlfriend Gwendolyn, a wild cat who can distinguish lies from truth, and an orphan girl who is tagging along with the three of them.
A new subplot involves a pair of journalists investigating the Alana story for the tabloids.
In the most entertaining part of the book (at least for book lovers), Alana and Marko travel to the planet of Quietus, seeking out one of Alana’s favorite authors, who has written about inter-species love. Alana is hoping he will be able to offer some guidance on how they can make sure Hazel can survive.
(Readers will love the bit when Marko asks the author what his next book will be about, and Alana, covering her ears, screams “NO SPOILERS!”)
Hazel cherishes the time they spend with the author, surrounded by books and adults who want to read to her. But they are marked for death, and must keep going.
The illustrations by Fiona Staples are incredible – creative, expressive, and full of meaning that adds layers and implications far beyond the word bubbles. Vaughan’s dialogue is clever, satirical, and engaging, but Staples adds pure genius to the finished product.
Evaluation: This fun, savvy, snarky series has it all – heart, heartache, compassionate love, romantic love, sympathy for any who have suffered for any reason across the spectrum of life forms, and plenty of violence and sex spicing up the action. (I wouldn’t suggest it for kids.) Ordinarily I am not so taken with graphic novel series, but I think this one is terrific.
Published by Image Comics, Inc., 2014