Reading: Saga Vol. 1-3

Yesterday, I wrote about how hoopla brings a library to your fingertips. One of the first books that I checked out was Saga by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples.

The heroes of Saga in a classic romance novel cover setting. Such a novel is important to the plot of the star crossed lovers.

The heroes of Saga in a classic romance novel cover setting. Such a novel is important to the plot of the star crossed lovers.

The story is a Romeo and Juliet story set in a back drop of a major war.  Alana is from Landfall a planet with a winged race that focuses on technological advancement.  Marko is from Wreath, Landfall’s satellite.  In true opposite form, Marko’s race uses magic extensively.  Yet, Landfall and Wreath don’t see any war action because that would be too devastating for both land forms.  Instead, the war is “outsourced” to different parts of their galaxy.  This forces worlds to pick sides.  Marko was captured in the war and Alana was assigned to the prison he was in.  They fall in love, of course, escape, and get pregnant.  That’s where we enter at the birth of Hazel, their daughter and our narrator. Because this union and specifically Hazel, both sides are after them.  The first volume sets the plot up and introduces us to the major characters.  We have bounty hunters and android royalty charged with the task of killing Marko, Alana, and Hazel,  ghost disemboweled teenagers, and a cat that knows if you are lying.  The second volume has one of the bounty hunters, The Will, rescuing a sex slave on his pursuit of Alana, Marko, and Hazel.  Markos grandparents appear allowing a framework for flashbacks where we learn more about the truly star crossed lovers.   We also meet an one eyed author who wrote a novel that inspired Alana and Marko that their love could actually work. The third volume we see investigations into Alana and Marko including from the press (or at least the tabloids). Marko’s former fiancee plays a bigger role and joins The Will on his pursuit of the couple. The Will’s outfit, as well as Prince Robot IV, all descend upon our couple in the third volume.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but there is a Volume 4 (and 5,6, and 7.  There might be more).

The script for this story is outstanding.  This galaxy could have become too large to handle is Brian K. Vaughn’s full control.  There are a ton of characters, but they are kept in focus.  The story isn’t linear but it’s never confusing, even when Vaughn throws strange things at its audience. More than most comics, there truly is some cliffhanger moments. More importantly, Vaughn doesn’t get bogged down in techno babble and war speak.  While the setting is somewhat surreal, his characters’ language is very rooted in our own.  The action is very violent.  Even the sex in this book, and there is quite a bit of it, is rooted somewhat in violence. In other words, this is not a comic for children.  The intended audience is an adult one.  This is a wartime novel and that colors every aspect of the story.  Even when our main couple is tender to one another, and they are truly in love, it is with the backdrop that death is always near and lurking around every corner. Vaughn has created a complete and engrossing world, um, galaxy.  His characters are three dimensional each with their own set of very believable motivations.  Not having read past Volume 3, I can only hope that story stays at such a high level.

However, with comics, no matter how great a script is a comic can only truly be excellent if the artwork matches the story. Fiona Staples provides artwork that fully creates Vaughn’s imaginative world. For instance, she makes a tree spaceship believable.  Her androids are both strange yet familiar creatures that show emotion.  This is amazing for a being with a television for a head. Vaughn’s world is an expansive one, yet each setting has its own distinct characteristics. The coloring is bright for a war novel, but that aligns with the theme of hope that does run through out the story.  Normally, I seek comics out by writers, but Fiona Staples is one of the few artists that I search for now.

The best thing anyone can say about a comic book is that they can’t wait to read the next issue.  That’s the point of comics.  With Saga, I have to remind myself to slow down.  I am so anxious to find out what comes next that I sometimes don’t take in each panel.

Even though I’m reading it on hoopla, I can’t wait for this to come out in one collected volume. If the next volumes are as good as the first three, Saga has earned a spot along any novel on my shelf, graphic or traditional.




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