An epic sci-fi adventure with liberal doses of violence and sex! Hey, if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.
I have been circling this graphic novel for years and kept on pushing it off for one reason or the other. But recently Dani from Perspective of a Writer reviewed it, and I was pushed to finally pick it up myself.
The story drops you right into the birth of our narrator, Hazel. Literally, THE very moment she is born with her mother Alana cussing and screaming, while her calm father, Marko, helps. You can tell that the parents are of different species, with their baby showing characteristics of both. Alana has no time to recover, as moments after the birth, the two fugitives are on the run as soldiers burst into the room trying to capture them. We learn that their two species are at war, and their secret marriage and birth of a hybrid child are strictly forbidden. That this love blossomed among enemies must be kept from the public, and was eerily reminiscent for me of one of Star Trek: DS9 best plotlines on the series that showed the hate between the Bajorans and the Cardassians that cruelly ruled their planet for years.
The action never stops as this new family seeks to escape certain death and we find out that not only are the leaders of their respective races plotting their demise, but paid assassins are also on their trail. Just as they maneuver out of one scrape, they are thrust into another; however, with so many multi-layered villains, you are not sure if perhaps one will prove to be their salvation or not.
With the plot device of Hazel narrating the story, we obviously know that she survives until adulthood, but her references to her parents are deliberately vague, as to invite questions of their fate(s). Alana is sarcastic but kind and a true warrior, but Marko is my real favorite. He reminds me of my husband – a handsome and strong man who will do whatever it takes to protect his family. Marko is incredibly battle-weary and will only use his family sword when absolutely necessary. Spoiler alert- there is a time it becomes necessary.
Fiona Staples’s art is perfect for the story. She immediately establishes the looks of a large cast of unique characters and creates believable alien worlds, with some awesome two-page spreads. She definitely does not shy away from the explicit, for as I mentioned in my introduction there is a lot of sex. OMG, a lot. In many comics, sex is implied, but you don’t see the actual bits and pieces. Here you do. There is also a lot of violence, but it wasn’t gratuitous, as that’s realistic for a story about warring nations.
Now that I have finished the first volume, I will definitely be picking up future volumes. While the sex was excessive, the rest of the narrative is top-notch. For me to be reminded of Star Trek: DS9 is the best compliment. I want to find out what happens to Alana, Marko and their baby Hazel, who is a symbol of their love and of hope for the warring empires.