March 2, 2024

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Comic Review: Saga Volume 1

Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples' sci-fi epic work started here.

I’d read the first volume of Saga once before, but never got around to moving forward despite really liking it.

Let’s try again.  Here’s a review for volume one, and I’ll get to the second one at some point in the future.

Alana and Marko are newlyweds having their first child.  Their daughter has clear features of both her parents.  There’s just one problem:  Alana and Marko are both essentially deserters from a massive intergalactic war being fought by their respective peoples.  That’s right:  their respective homeworlds are on opposite sides.  Alana’s people all have some kind of wings and live on a planet called Landfall, and they use a lot of very advanced technology.  Marko’s people live on Wreath, Landfall’s only moon, and they all have some kind of horns and mastered magic.  Their peoples have been at war for a very long time, and don’t fight at home.  That’s too destructive.  They take their war to all the other known planets and force every other species to choose a side.

Alana was a military prison guard with a fondness for romance novels.  Marko was a POW in her jail who came to detest violence.  They eloped.  In the opening pages, they have their baby girl, Hazel, in the back of a garage and get set upon by forces from both sides and miraculously don’t get hit.  Now they have to run because everyone thinks the pair are some total badasses and they may or may not want Hazel to live.  Landfall dispatches Prince Robot IV, a mechanical man with a TV for a head who has some very biological processes for a robot.  Wreath hires a bunch of freelancers who have names that start with “the” like The Stalk and The Will.  Wreath wants the baby alive.  Landfall?  Not so much.

Now, this is a lot of information, and that is basically just the first issue.  The reader knows a lot because of the narrator, an adult Hazel.  She lets us know she doesn’t have a grand destiny.  She only has a pair of parents who love her and allow her to grow old because of whatever they did, something she implies may not be true for one or both of them.  Writer Brian K Vaughan’s script is full of weird and interesting twists, like the nature of the Horrors, what they supposedly do and what they actually do, or just the presence of something called a Lying Cat.  Artist Fiona Staples gives some truly creative license to everything around her.  A trip to a planet-wide brothel allowed her to really stretch the limits of both “alien” and “sex” in the most creative manner possible.  Her linework is both clean and clear, giving the characters believable expressions to match Vaughan’s story.

Saga has a reputation of being a fantastic read, going well with the experimental nature Image Comics allows creators to explore.  Quite frankly, for this first six issue volume at least, that reputation is earned.  Ten out of ten spectral babysitters.