An intergalactic ongoing series from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples described as Romeo and JulietmeetsStar WarsmeetsGame of Thrones.Far off in space, the large planet of Landfall is populated by people sporting (slightly functional) wings of various kinds. The moon of Landfall is called Wreath and is populated by people with various kinds of animal horns. The two races have been waging war for so long that the fight between the 'wings and horns' is just a fact of life. The wings have advanced technology while the horns wield magic — making the whole thing just a little more complicated and brutal.The actual plot starts when a POW Wreath soldier named Marko gets into a relationship with his guard, Alana. They then escape, breaking out of jail and deserting, respectively, and get married. While hiding out on another planet called Cleave, Alana gives birth to a halfbreed child possessing both wings and horns that they name Hazel. As the new parents rush to escape Cleave alive both factions become aware of the union and seek to kill the parents and possess their child.
Saga contains examples of:
Actual Pacifist: Marko is strictly bound to a code of nonviolence and keeps his ancestral sword chained to its scabbard. He briefly breaks off from this belief to defend his family, though he still doesn't actually kill anyone. He returns to his oath and sacrifices his sword to power the rocketship.
Also D. Oswald Heist, who is even more committed to his ideals than Marko.
The Alcoholic: D. Oswald Heist is never seen without a glass or a bottle in his hand.
Berserk Button: Alana getting shot is what sets off Marko's rampage against a squad of Landfall soldiers in issue 6. He doesn't stop until she steps in.
Prince Robot IV, whenever anyone threatens his wife or unborn child or makes light of the horrific experiences he and others suffered at Threshold None. During a brief interrogation with a belligerent Wreathen PoW, his facial-screen goes into static and he almost puts the prisoner through a steel bulkhead.
Distaff Counterpart: The Brand resembles The Will a great deal - a presumably-human Freelancer with an animal sidekick and a weird moral framework. Even their outfits, when considered as a whole, are the same ensemble (long and flowing outer garment over white shirt, crooked belt with holster and pouches, archaic-seeming weapon, loose pants, distinctive shoes) composed using different elements. The Brand especially makes the similarity kind of eerie when wearing a helmet a lot like the mask on The Will's cape. It stops being so odd when you discover that they're siblings.
Dirty Coward: By the standards of their respective factions, both Alana and Marko. Alana was demoted to guard duty after a listed case of "abject cowardice" in her first battle. Marko surrendered while claiming to be a conscientious objector. In reality, they tend to be far braver protecting things they care about. They just don't much care about the war.
Eldritch Abomination: The newborn Timesuck, an "astrologic super predator." The Will saw one take out a whole armada.
The Empath: Slave Girl seems to have some latent powers; she was able to trace where Marko and Alana are based on their wedding rings, which were forged with Gwen's pendant.
"Excuse me, but your necklace sounds sad...Her necklace misses its old friends. It can finally hear them again, both of them, not far from here.
When The Will kills an alien child sex trafficker. Hazel notes in her narration that he's a monster, but some monsters are worse than others.
The government of Wreath may have hired assassins to hunt down and kill Alana and Marko, but they made sure to specify that Hazel is not to be harmed, and even The Stalk has to back down and mutter "Damn, bitch," to herself when Alana herself holds Hazel at gunpoint just to keep The Stalk away. Landfall and Prince Robot IV however, not so much.
Fantastic Racism: The folks of Landfall and Wreath sure do hate the heck out of each other. Prince Robot IV even notes that the whole war has been going on for so long it's now just self-perpetuating: lacking in purpose beyond avenging the latest development in itself.
Fantastic Slur: "Moony" is a very common one for the people of Wreath. "Goat-head" is another one. People from Landfall get various unflattering nouns after the word "feathered", and Alana gets called a "housefly". The Robot Kingdom has "machine head" and "blueblood" - although the latter is literal and might just be an inoffensive nickname.
First Episode Spoiler: The first issue makes it clear that Hazel will survive the series, her narration suggests that at least one of her parents might not.
Fourth Wall Psych: One issue opens with a full-page spread of a shirtless Marko looking straight at the "audience" and saying "Please don't stop reading." The next page reveals that he's talking to Alana, whose reading her romance novel aloud to him.
Izabel is pretty excitable and pleasant for a ghost of a kid who stood on a landmine.
Prince Robot IV's attaché during his trip to the prison complex is jarringly enthusiastic about everything.
The mouse medic who treated Prince Robot IV at Threshold None is also cheery, frank and talkative - even mildly flirtatious - until she dies graphically and gruesomely in a gas-attack because no one bothered to give her a mask.
Grey and Grey Morality: Prince Robot IV's wife feels the war is, at this point, a battle of two fairly "good" groups, since neither side has either the moral high or low ground.
Gun Safety: 'You took a firearm?! Are you insane?! Do you have any idea how what the statistics are for parents who keep one of those in [the home]?!' Note this is before said parents even have a home. Or a life expectancy.
Half-Breed Discrimination: Both the higher-ups on Landfall and Wreath are specifically concerned over Hazel's existence, but in terms that imply utter disgust.
Heroic Sacrifice: Barr saves the life of his family with a difficult magic spell, knowing full well that his ailing heart probably can't take the strain. He was, sadly, correct.
Horned Humanoid: Marko and the other inhabitants of Wreath. Hazel has them too - in addition to wings.
Imagine Spot: The Will dreams that The Stalk survived being shot, and that they go to Sextillion to save Sophie.
D. Oswald Heist, the cycloptic author, in Issue 17.
The Lad-ette: Alana, though she's not currently able to drink or have sex due first to being pregnant (later recovering from delivery) and then nursing.
Lampshade Hanging: An interesting one that almost qualifies as Breaking the Fourth Wall. When spoken, the Wreathen's native language is written in speech bubbles with blue text, implying some kind of accent or — most commonly — that they are using magic. When Marko introduces Alana to his parents for the first time, he has to point out that Alana "doesn't know how to speak Blue yet". The in-universe name for the blue text is Blue! Possibly justified. Since their language is so heavily tied to magic, it is possible that some inherent magic in the language induces a specific form of synesthesia in anyone hearing it, thus making them perceive the spoken language as blue.
Last Minute Baby Naming: Alana and Marko decide on Hazel's name after noting that her eyes aren't green (like Alana's) or brown (like Marko's).
Magic Versus Science: The people of Landfall use high technology and those of Wreath use magic. They seem pretty evenly matched.
Magitek: Very liberally sprinkled throughout each issue thus far.
Magnum Opus Dissonance: An in-universe example. D. Oswald Heist, the author of Alana's favorite book that changed her life, considers it hackwork that he wrote to pay the bills. Subverted in that he's lying in an effort to mislead IV.
Meddling Parents: Prince Robot IV's father doesn't care that he's trying to start a family and settle down after surviving a hellish campaign. His demanding orders are pretty much the driving force in his son's life.
Marko's parents, Barr and Klara, arguably.
Missing Episode: Issue #12 was, for one day, not available on Apple devices due to two tiny panels of homosexual sex acts being depicted (on Prince Robot IV's screen), despite never having a problem with the series' very mature content before. Vaughan naturally had a field day mocking them over this. Later, however, it eventuated that it was ComiXology, not Apple, who had over-cautiously interpreted Apple's guidelines and yanked the issue. Issue 12 and a public apology were made available the day after the "ban".
Murder, Inc.: The Freelancers, overlapping with Weird Trade Union occasionally for comedy. In a lot of ways, they represent a power in and of themselves to equal (or at least be considered in the same breath as) the warring races and their allies, except that they're neutral, accepting contracts from both sides at their own discretion.
Marko breaks his vow of pacifism and single-handedly destroys an entire squad of heavily armed, power-armoured Landfall soldiers with his sword alone, defending Hazel and avenging what he thought was Alana's "death".
Alana makes it very clear she would rather see Hazel dead by her own hand than alive in the hands of monsters.
Prince Robot IV shoots The Stalk dead the split-second he thinks she's about to pull a weapon. As he does so, a rattle appears on his monitor, implying that his thought process was that he had to be alive to raise his future child at all costs.
The Will in what counts as a Pet the Dog moment, is more than prepared to kill dozens of Sextillion gangsters and risk his own death in order to save Slave Girl, who he so far seems to have 'adopted' until he can find her a home.
Marko's parents sold their house in order to get the magical tools that would allow them to find Marko.
D. Oswald Heist is an unusual non-violent version. When his son committed suicide as a result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Heist risked his own career and safety to write a subversive anti-war novel aimed against the two most powerful — and most dangerous — powers in the galaxy, the Landfallians and the Wreathens.
Psycho Ex-Fiance: At the end of Issue Eight, Gwendolyn looks to be this, but she turns out to be pretty level-headed and at least a little justified in her aggravation. Marko was supposed to marry her when he got back from fighting in the war and used her engagement ring, part of a specially-forged set, which was an heirloom in her family, as his wedding ring for Alana.
Issue 12 is an entire issue dedicated to Prince Robot IV interrogating author D. Oswald Heist about his book and if he knows where Marko, Alana, and Hazel are. Cue the very last page, where Marko, Alana, Hazel, and Klara are all in the very same house as Heist and IV, and have been there for a week.
In Issue 15, The Will's visions of The Stalk, encouraging him to settle down and start a new life, are actually a hallucination brought on by parasites in the planet's indigenous flora and fauna that make their hosts violently want to stay put.
Ridiculously Human Robots: Prince Robot IV's entire race. In addition to having sex and bearing children, there's also a case of Prince Robot IV using a toilet. And having erectile dysfunction.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Prince Robot IV is obviously suffering PTSD after surviving what's implied to be a particularly ugly series of battles at Threshold None; among other things, he's shown dreaming of the time he took a shot to the neck and began bleeding out before he was stabilised by a friendly medic, only to watch the medic disintegrate in front of his face as the attack resumed, leaving him coated in gore. He takes insults to the soldiers who died there very personally and has no intention of rejoining combat, but may be in denial about how deeply scarred he really is.
Small Universe After All: Alana suggests running away to another galaxy because she heard that draft dodgers have been offered sanctuary.
Sophisticated as Hell: The Robot Kingdom is modelled after English nobility, so when Prince Robot IV's in a temper he gets to say things like "Now be a dear and fuck the fuck off."
Spell My Name with a "The": Freelancers have names in the format of 'The <Word>'. Notable in that "The" is always capitalized and is almost always included ("Good luck, The Will"). Her being called "The Stalk" also gives Marko pause and makes Alana immediately realize she's a Freelancer when they first encounter The Stalk. Other known Freelancers include The Import, The March, The Fluke, and the Brand.
Stun Guns: Alana has a Heartbreaker, a small pistol that isn't lethal, just paralyzing. Marko describes the effect as what it felt like when his dog died, so it seems to not so much stun as overwhelm the target with emotion (sadness, judging by the name and the effect as described), leaving them temporarily incapable of taking any effective action. It's later stated that a shot from it would probably kill Hazel, so presumably there's some kind of physiological effect.
Stylistic Suck: D. Oswald Heist's novel. May be subverted. While it looks like a bad novel, it is revealed that the novel actually is a subversion of many tropes tailored to deliver an anti-war message; focusing on a Slice of Life story between two people who should be monstrous to each other but wind up as lovers.
Talking Animal: Lying Cat can possibly speak (or at least say 'Lying'), but at the very least she can understand humanoid speech enough to tell when people aren't being truthful.
Prince Robot IV, disturbingly enough. The screen is usually blank but it sometimes displays what he's thinking/talking about, who he's talking to, or something related to what he sees. When he's overly emotional it shows random, vaguely appropriate images.
Due to a misunderstanding between Comixology and Apple, issue #12 was initially not available for purchase through the iTunes stores because of this. Prince Robot IV has a flashback to a time he got shot in battle and his face monitor is covered for several panels with pictures of pornography, presumably as a robot way of dropping a Cluster F-Bomb.
Übermensch: The Will. His personal moral code apparently condones killing children in the line of duty, but not the sexual abuse of them for any reason, by anyone. He even tells Mama Sun if she'd have to ask about the difference, she's too far gone to understand it.
Unstoppable Rage: Marko in issue 5 after Alana takes a shot to the shoulder from a winged soldier.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The series is littered with it! There's Prince Robot IV's people, the Robot Kingdom, who are metallic humanoids with TVs for heads; The Stalk, a chalk-white woman with eight red eyes whose bare humanoid torso is armless while her spider-like lower body has eight limbs with opposable clawed thumbs; the unnerving and distinctly nonsexy inhabitants of Sextillion; and on, and on, and on...
Vapor Wear: Alana has nothing under her coat, since she needs to be able to feed Hazel at a moment's notice.
War Is Hell: And for more reasons than just the obvious. The front lines are exactly as horrifying as you'd expect in a galaxy where one side wields roughly modern weapons and the other inventively deadly magic. But both sides realised at some point that they couldn't continue the war on their home turf - destroying Wreath or Landfall would see its opposing celestial body hurled out of orbit and destroyed too. In order to continue the conflict, they outsourced it, effectively dragging every other world into their fight. There are conscripts and enlisted soldiers who just want to finish their service and go home, risking and losing their lives (some only there for the entitlements offered soldiers, like tertiary scholarships); planets whose whole native populations have been wiped out, and nobody knows or cares which side it was; refugees in camps where they're kidnapped by or sold to sex/slave traffickers; thinning resources; orphans, widows and widowers not just from violence but also from mentally-shattered or mutilated veterans committing suicide. It goes on and on. You could sum up Izabel with the trope name: the ghost of a teenage girl, parents rebelling against both occupying forces but personally uninterested in fighting, who stood on a landmine and found herself stuck defending her planet in death. Her people were wiped out anyway, and she doesn't even know who was responsible.
Was Too Hard on Him: Barr regrets not having been a better father to Marko. Marko, however, seems to have fond memories of his dad from being a kid.