SAGA: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
When I first saw Saga on the shelves, I thought about giving it a look, but I passed it by. That’s a bad thing and a good thing. The bad thing was I almost missed out on a terrific book. The good thing is I didn’t have to wait month to month like a lot of those readers who jumped on the bandwagon early.
Brian K. Vaughan has some massive kung fu when it comes to writing. I’ve read a lot of his superhero stuff but never got into Y: The Last Man. Dunno why. It just never appealed to me. The art in that book didn’t speak to me either.
The art in Saga speaks plenty, though. That was the first thing that made me notice the book. Fiona Staples’ pages are crisp and clear, beautifully rendered in colors that entice the eye. It’s really easy to finish the book and then just wander back through the pages to see everything again. I was blown away when I learned that Staples is doing all of this on computer and providing the art AND the coloring every month. She’s a comics writer’s dream.
The story, according to Vaughan, owes to his love of Star Wars as well as the impending birth of his second child. Saga is about a love story, and a lot of reviewers have compared it to Romeo and Juliet, which is a fair juxtaposition I think.
However, Vaughan brings so much more to the table than just a retelling of star-crossed lovers. His imagination in this book soars, and he deepens each of his characters enough to make you really feel for them – even when they’re the bad guys. Of course, there are a number of shifting alliances in the story and things will probably not turn out the way they at first seem. Vaughan likes playing with readers’ minds like that.
The series is also a brilliant mashup of science fiction and fantasy. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why Alana and Marko were trying to take their newborn daughter to the Rocketship Forest. Then, when they arrive, the answer is perfectly simple. I won’t spoil that one for you.
I wondered if the large cast of characters was going to be a problem when I first started reading. Getting distracted from the main story is always irritating to me. The trick Vaughan has for that is simple: it’s ALL main story. Every character, every nuance, every what-seems-to-be bunny trail all plays into the story. Everything matters.
I have to give kudos to Vaughan and Staples for creating what is possibly the creepiest character I have ever seen – even surpassing the Aliens created by H. R. Giger. The Stalk (bounty hunter extraordinaire and totally merciless) gave me chills the first time I saw her, then when I saw her completely unveiled, I was even more shocked. You’ll know what I mean when you find her in the graphic novel.
What seems like a simple story is intricately woven. If I was following this story through the monthly issues instead of picking up the graphic novel installments, I’d be freaked. But getting the graphic novels helps satiate the need to know what’s gonna happen next by getting a bigger piece of the pie all at one time.
I’m looking to a long run on this series, even if it leaves me twisted with anticipation on each final page while I wait.
One warning: this is an Adult comic book, presentation and subject matter.