Saga Vol 1. by Brian K. Vaugh and Fiona Staples

Summary from Goodreads:

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. 

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. 

This specially priced volume collects the first six issues of the smash-hit series The Onion A.V. Club calls "the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make."

This graphic novel is surrounded by a ton of hype. Largely positive ones. They say it's a mash-up of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Two things that make my nerd bells go on high alert. Was it worthy of the hype though?


The Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres are so diverse and abundant that it's quite impossible to have characters or a plot that is not part of the stock. I guess, the trick is skillfully reinventing them. Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, two of pop-cultures fantasy and sci-fi genre titans, are continually being attached to Saga, most likely because the story contains spaceships and laser blasters and planet systems and magic and spirits. But unlike Tolkien's and Lucas' creation, Saga does not deal with the whole good and evil game. It is largely about the destruction of war, the politics of war, the unfairness of war. You can say that it's a little bit Shakespean as well. Alana and Marco, are two ill-fated lovers, each are from opposite warring races, much like the Capulets and Montagues. They go renegade, have a baby, and have been running from both of their people, who pursues them doggedly across the planets. They think their baby is an abomination and wants to take her away. So you can say all these aren't new, we've seen it, perhaps a billion times, but I feel that they have created  a whole new world. A world with a whole slew of inventive and creative planets and inhabitants, humans or otherwise, one that is quite rich and alive. Mostly thanks to Fiona Staples illustration. 

The illustrations are what made me truly enjoy this graphic novel. Staples captures emotions and movements precisely. The facial expressions does not only revolve around happiness, and sadness, and anger. But even the subtle ones, like haughtiness, and boredom, and grief. The panels are organized and clean, graphics are well within each frame, which is a perfect match for the overload of visuals that this story calls for. I particularly took to the ghosts, which are drawn in a way that the glowing transparency leaps off the pages. Not much of the planets wreath and landfall are shown at great length, so I gather they would reveal more in the nest volumes.

Here's my bad news, I could not really find myself rooting for Alana and Marko. It's just that they seem to talk very flippantly most of the time, that I am missing the believability, at least in their story line. I can take it, if say the character is like The Doctor (Doctor Who), he is a time lord with nothing to lose, at least not that much anymore, so I get that he talks with much bravado and cheekiness. But Alana and Marko, they have a baby to protect, they are away from their homes, being pursued on all sides, and yet they seem all jokey most of the time. And those clever jokes, they seem bit forced at times. But it's a good thing there are other characters to busy myself with. There's The Will (a hired assassin and his sidekick Lying Cat (a cat that can tell if someone is lying), Isabelle (the teenage ghost), Prince Robot IV (a monarch with a TV for his head), etc. 

Overall, I still say this is a very entertaining, beautifully drawn graphic novel. Definitely worthy of the hype, I say. So very worth my splurge, I double say.

Comments

  1. Hi, Tin! I love this series! I bought the third volume a couple of months ago. I can't get enough!

    Saga comes in just the right time. I've been looking for a new graphic novel series to satisfy my craving! Of course, this craving has been brought about by Y: The Last Man, which is also from Brian K. Vaughn. That series is also very, very good!

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  2. Hi Peter! Oh cool! I thought they were only on the second installment. I am particularly interested in how The Will will fare. (I was also kind of bummed about the turn of events for The Stalk. Hehe.)

    And yes, I already have Y: The Last Man on my wishlist! :)

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