There’s not much I can say about Saga that hasn’t already been said by people with significantly sexier accents than me, but I’ll try.
First thing you should know about Saga is that the writer, Brian K. Vaughan, is the same pen wielding fella that wrote Y: The Last Man. I can’t remember if I’ve done a review for Y: The Last Man on here but here’s the real quick, smack you in the face and leave you writhing on the ground whimpering like a baby, version: It’s really good. I have some problems with Y: The Last Man, but on the whole, it’s a great series. There’s an interesting story line with some of the best dialogue I’ve ever seen.
Well, best dialogue I’ve ever seen until…Saga. For those of you unfamiliar with writing, dialogue is a tricky turnip to do right, to do it well means the capricious writing gods were probably distracted and looking elsewhere whilst you scribbled your words, and to do great dialogue means you likely exchanged sexual favors with the devil at some point.
Now, before you get all up in a tizzy, I am not saying Brian Vaughan slept with the devil…er.. okay, well, actually that’s precisely what I’m saying. Deal with it.
As far as deals with the devil go, this one was a good one, for fans of graphic novels, anyhow. What you get with Saga is a fast paced space opera sci-fi/fantasy mashup weirdness. There are disemboweled ghost nannies, royalty robots, a sort of sexy spider woman assassin thing, and a cat that can detect when you’re lying…and that’s not even mentioning our two main characters.
Marko and Alana are soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war, they fall in love (as ram-horned dudes and moth-winged ladies are wont to do) and have an inter-species child. They just want to get away from the fighting and start a life together, but nothing is ever that simple, ’cause now, if being first-time parents isn’t hard enough, everybody in the galaxy pretty much wants them dead.
The thing I really enjoyed about this story, besides the dialogue, was the expansive scope of the world-building. There are at least half a dozen story threads woven into this single volume, and throughout the tale you can’t shake the feeling that Vaughan was actually holding back a little. That’s a good thing because rather than bogging us down with world-building minutiae, Saga Volume 1 leaves you hungry for more.
And that in a nutshell is the beauty of space opera. Crazy, absurd adventures taking place on an epic, intergalactic scale. If that’s your sort of thing, then you can do no wrong with Saga.
Let’s chat about the art real quick, because, ya know, this is a graphic novel and there are pictures on every page so it’s sort of important. Fiona Staples has a really stylistic touch in Saga. None of the pictures are overly impressive–that is to say none of them really stop you dead in your tracks with your mouth hanging off its hinges. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, ’cause Fiona’s style revolves around her characterization.
Forget everything you’ve learned from a Michael Bay movie, you don’t need bright, flashing lights and big explosions to sell your piece. You need good characterization. That’s precisely what Staples brings to the mix. Whether we’re talking about Alana or Marko (our main characters) or some of the lesser characters, she does an amazing job of making their emotions pop off the page. Her work is a beautiful compliment to Vaughan’s story, the two creating a synergistic effect that makes Saga into something truly beautiful.
Oh, god… I’m gushing. Give me a second, let me grab a clean pair of underoos. No, no, nevermind. We’re almost done. I’ll just wallow a bit longer.
So, if you’re into graphic novels and haven’t read Saga yet, well, that’s pretty unforgivable. Go do it, right now. Go on, I’ll wait.