3 Graphic Novels: Saga, Delilah Dirk, & Adele Blanc-Sec

saga1Title: Saga, Vol. 1
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Intended Audience: Adult/Mature
Date Completed: March 18, 2014
Rating: 5/5
Synopsis:  Alana and Marco are from opposite sides of an intergalactic war. She is a prison guard, he a prisoner, and together run away to start a new life. The story starts with the birth of their daughter, Hazel, then follows them as they try to escape from multiple enemies. In addition to character dialog, Hazel provides narration that gives bits of insight into the future of her family.

Thoughts: I’ve always enjoyed a bit of space opera, and this one is akin to Romeo and Juliet (though hopefully without the untimely deaths of the two main characters).  The baddies aren’t one-dimensionally bad, and if you don’t exactly like them, you at least respect them.  Even the good guys have their own baggage. Stories are better when the characters exist in the realm of grey instead of black and white.

**Be warned that there are explicit scenes in the book, and I wouldn’t consider it appropriate for adults, possibly teens at the end of their teen years.**

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delilah dirkTitle: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant
Author / Illustrator: Tony Cliff
Intended Audience: YA
Dates Completed: March 24, 2014 & May 19, 2014
Rating: 3/5
Synopsis: Delilah Dirk is a daring adventuress; Selim is a mild-mannered Janissary with a deep love of quality tea. He gets swept up inadvertently into Delilah’s adventures and becomes her unwilling (?) accomplice.

Thoughts: I ended up reading this twice because I wanted to see if I could reconcile my opinion from the first reading (meh) with all of the glowing reviews I’d seen on other websites and blogs. My first reading impressions were that it lacked a cohesive plot and had no overarching goal to tie everything together. My 13-year old self would have absolutely loved it for the sheer adventure.

The second go-round left a much better impression. The art is wonderful, especially the landscapes. I like how the humor is shown/played. The lack of romance between the two was refreshing. This volume felt more like an opening chapter in a longer story – Selim gets swept up unintentionally, comes to grips with it, and joins Delilah. I think my previously poor opinion stemmed from the massive amount of stress I was under with graduate school, Girl Scouts, three children, and no time to get anything accomplished.

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adele blanc-sec 1Title: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
Author / Illustrator: Jacques Tardi
Intended Audience: Teen/Adult
Date Completed: May 27, 2014
Rating: 1/5
Synopsis: This book is split into two interconnected stories. In the first, a pterodactyl has been brought to life and is on the loose in Paris. At around the same time, Adele Blanc-Sec has arrived in Paris with a hostage in order to use said hostage as collateral to free an associate from prison before he is executed. Treachery is afoot and things don’t go as planned.

Shortly after the conclusion of the pterodactyl incident, the second story begins when Adele gets involved in an intrigue surrounding an ancient Babylonian statue. She is fueled by the realization that it is connected to her treacherous allies and the incident that caused her associate to be jailed in the first place. Adele discovers a sinister cult, and must find away to escape its clutches.

Thoughts: I did not like this book, and had to force myself to read the second story. Adele is unlikeable, and most of the male characters felt like variations of the same mustachioed suit and bowler. The first story was essentially two separate, and only marginally connected, plots – the pterodactyl and Adele. Except for some seemingly random insets of a wailing man, the pterodactyl plot line made sense. However, the reader was dropped into the middle of Adele’s plot with very little backstory to fill in the details. The second story was an improvement in plot line coherence.

 

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