Graphic Novel Review: Saga Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Hazel and co. are enjoying their time on a remote island while their ship recharges, Upsher and Doff offer Alana and Marko an opportunity to end their life on the run, and Sir Robot IV finds his own opportunity to start a new life with his son and newfound love. Meanwhile, shady forces are still at work, and Hazel, Alana, and Marko are still being hunted down.

Graphic Novel Review: Saga Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples | reading, books, graphic novels, fantasy, science fiction
Title: Saga Vol. 9
Book Number: Volume 9
Pages: 152
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


What… What… What…




Screenshot of a Goodreads update I posted which says: I love how half the reviews for Saga Vol. 9 are just people screaming and cursing and having meltdowns in capslock.

Honestly, this was one of the best volumes of the series, in my opinion, in terms of emotion and characters and relationships. Alana, Marko, Hazel, Sir Robot IV, Squire, Petrichor, Ghus, Upsher, Doff—everyone was together and friendly and it was so much fun to see the dynamics among them. There wasn’t anything wrong with this volume. It was great. Funny. Touching. Deep. Beautiful.

But it was heartbreaking. And it was a pretty terrible way to end things before a hiatus, if I’m being honest. You could at least leave your readers with some hope and good feelings! But I digress. It’s a great series. I’m not serious when I tell you not to read this one. Just be prepared because it’s brutal.

Now I’m going to share some spoiler-filled thoughts. These are no-holds-barred spoilers. I highly recommend you not read these if you haven’t read this volume yet but are planning to. You’ve been warned.


Listen, I know that probably 99% of the people currently sobbing over this volume are doing so for a different character. And I feel like I’m going to judged and shunned for being more sad about this death. But…

WHY. WHY DID SIR ROBOT IV HAVE TO DIE. 😭 Ok, I know why—themes of “violence begets violence” and all that—but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. I know he wasn’t always a good person. I know he’d done terrible things in his past. I know he was still making mistakes, even in this book. I know he was so very far from perfect. But he was trying, which is more than can be said for most crappy people in the world. He was learning from his mistakes. He was becoming a better person. He was trying to be a good father, even if he wasn’t always succeeding. He was vulnerable and honest with Petrichor. He was becoming friends with Alana and Marko. He was super sweet to Hazel. He was a total softie sometimes.

IV playing cartoons on his TV head for a kid to watchIV pretending to be a shark for Hazel

He wanted to start over and make a new life for himself and his son. He was so close. And damn it, whether he deserved that or not, he was still my favorite character in the series and one of my all-time favorites period. He was complex and dynamic and terrible and good and sarcastic and sweet and funny and sad, and I loved him for it. He was flawed and messed up and broken, but you know what? So are a lot of us, just in different ways. He was flawed, and yet, he still had good in him, and he still had people who cared about him, and that’s a nice thing to see in a book—that it’s never too late to try and be better and that it’s still possible for people to love you even when you feel broken. Does this excuse some of the things he’s done? No. But I can get behind characters who are able to admit their mistakes and try to be better.

And just for the record, I 100% believe, as Marko did, that IV wasn’t actually going to sell out Hazel and her family. He was saying whatever he needed to to get out of the situation because he knew that not only would he be killed, but the others would be in danger too. He even tried to argue with Marko in order to get him to leave and save everyone, and he was relieved when he thought they were all safe even though it meant he had no bargaining chip left for his own life.

IV: “What are you doing, you fucking simpleton? Didn’t you hear? I was in the process of selling out your entire family!”
Marko: “Yeah, but I never believe anything you say.”
IV: “Because you’re a fucking simpleton! Now get back to the others and—”
Marko: “They’re long gone, including your son. I made them all blast off the second I caught an unfamiliar stench on the island… no offense.”
IV: “Oh, thank god.”

Anyway, I’ve been dealing with my IV feels by pinning lots of fan art to my Bookish Fan Art board lately. I didn’t pin this one because it’s a spoiler, but it’s both sad and beautiful, and I love it. I’m gonna miss IV. Rest in peace, my beloved TV-headed prince.

IV trapped with The Will's arm around his neck, his screen showing a flower with a petal floating away

Doff also deserves a mention. He wasn’t a bad person. I loved his and Upsher’s relationship. I loved how much they loved each other. He didn’t deserve to be killed.

Last but not least, Marko! Seriously, this volume was a wrecking ball. His may not have been the death that affected me the most, but it’s definitely still a sad one, one that I know many people have been devastated by, and understandably so. He was a good father, a good partner, a good friend, and, most importantly, a good person, and the only reason he was even killed was because he was protecting those he cared about but still didn’t want to be a killer himself.

And of course I feel bad for all the characters they left behind who will miss them.

I can’t believe The Will was ever my favorite character. Fuck him. He barged into this volume and screwed up everything.

Another thing—IV, Marko, and The Will were all abused as kids. They all also had flashbacks when they were being killed (even though The Will survived), and I’m admittedly not great at finding the meaning in stories, but it seemed to me that Brian K. Vaughan used those flashbacks to show not only how violence begets violence but also how all three characters had similarities in their childhoods but took different roads later in life. Marko managed to overcome his violence-filled past by focusing on people he loved. I think IV was getting there. But The Will just became entirely focused on violence and vengeance.

Anyway… I don’t have an eloquent way to end my thoughts. Just, everyone died, and it was awful.




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Talk to me!

Have you read Saga Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples?
Have you ever been so heartbroken over a book that you didn't know how to review it?
If you've read this one, what are your thoughts/feelings?
*WARNING: Comments may have spoilers, read at your own risk!*


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  1. ShootingStarsMag

    I’m pretty sure I read through volume 5…my library doesn’t seem to have all the others, so I really need to get up to date. But gosh, it’s heartbreaking? I will have to prepare myself! I do love this series though.


  2. Sam@wlabb

    I have not read any of the books in this series, but every time I see a review, I consider it, because the fan love is so fierce. Sorry this broke your heart. I hope it’s something the author can fix in the next one.

  3. Lola

    Sounds pretty heartbreaking and brutal this volume, but that’s great you also thought it was one of the best volumes so far. It doesn’t seem like a good place to end the series before a hiatus, I can understand you would prefer an ending with a bit of hope then. Some books that make you feel so much are difficult to review.

    1. Kristen Burns

      One of the best in that it was well-written. The absolute worst in the things that happened. Definitely heartbreaking! Yeah, it was definitely a harsh way to end things before a hiatus, and super hard to review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m guessing you heard about the one everyone else is upset about? But there were so many! And I feel like I’m all alone in my sadness lol. But yeah, that’s a pretty bad way to end before a hiatus.

  4. Marlena

    I agree with your thoughts about IV one hundred percent. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Marko was heartbreaking but IV was devastating for me. I threw the book when it happened. I had to wait for a little while before I could continue. I finally recover, read the rest and then bam…Marko. This issue was rough…beautiful, but difficult. It’s been a few weeks and I still can’t get over what happened to IV though. I want him back! Great review by the way.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It makes me so happy to know I’m also not the only one who feels that way about IV! I’m still not over what happened to him either. I miss him already, and I’m kind of less excited for the next volume now that my favorite characters are gone. Still a great series though. Thanks!

  5. Olivia Roach

    I love reading book reviews for this book just for that reason. If it can make people fangirl that hard you know it has to be such a good book. Yay for it being fangirl worthy, funny and also heart breaking in the most awful but brilliant way. I’m all for the relationships being good! I haven’t seen these in any stores I have been in yet, but I want to read these so badly!!

  6. Mikey

    Do you really think he’s gone for good? I feel that because of his background, out of all the characters who perished in this book, he might have a chance to come back….maybe. Definitely one of the more emotional arcs. How long is the hiatus supposed to last for?

    1. Kristen Burns


      I’m not sure which character you’re referring to. I don’t think there’s any coming back from either of those deaths though. I had suspicions at first that Marko might be able to survive since he has magic, but I doubt even he could survive THAT, and other people have noted that his death was hinted at a long time ago by Hazel’s narration. I’ve also seen people say they think IV might come back since he’s a robot, but he’s not actually a robot. They’re called that, but they’re organic lifeforms. Unfortunately I’ve heard the hiatus will last at least a year :-/