I just finished reading Saga Volume 1, which collects the first six issues of this amazing new-ish series by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. I had heard from several different places that it was the book to pick up if you were looking for something new, different, and not necessarily superhero-related, so I decided to give it a shot. So glad I did! Usually, I'm hesitant to try anything new, especially anything outside of the known superhero universes of DC and Marvel. I'm hesitant for two reasons: because I've wasted so much time reading bad comics (I've literally fallen asleep with a comic in my hands, on more than one occasion), and because I'm still playing catch-up with all the good comics (I just read Watchmen, and I still haven't gotten around to some others like The Dark Knight Returns). So, usually, I wouldn't give a new book a second thought. And then, finally, I decided to check out Saga. They had me from the first page:
Wow. In that one page, this amazing writer/artist creative team captures all of the reasons why Saga is so great! The art is fantastic. The realism pulls no punches. The fantasy is over the top, yet believable. The narration is creative and worthy. And the story keeps me turning the pages.
Better critics than I have pointed out the brilliance of Fiona Staples's work. I love the way the lines are sloppy, yet neat. The coloring is fantasmic, also. I was interested to learn that she does most of her work herself, and on the computer. It's amazing to see someone taking such advantage of this technology:
Like I said, they had me from the first page. I was shocked and tickled pink to see that extremely realistic child birth. It's obviously based on experience! But don't take my word for it, read what this doula/midwife/feminist had to say in the book's letters page:
Yep, that's a robot with a TV set for a head and an arm that can shape-shift into a canon. Wow! Vaughn's imagination is out of this world! The characters, the environments, the situations, just... wow! This story takes everything I love about every creative work in the fantasy/superhero/sci-fi genre and blends it together better than I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing before. When comparisons are made, Saga is easily put into the same category as all of the greats (Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Romeo & Juliet, Lord of the Rings).
The narration is done by Hazel, the daughter of the two main characters Alana and Marko. Only, she's still a newborn baby in the first six issues. Normally, I don't like when stories have this backwards narration device. It takes some of the edginess away from it, because you know, no matter what, the narrator has to survive and be OK, or else, how would they be telling the story? But it is really cool how they play with the narration in Saga, having the baby telling the story of her parents and what they did during her first few months. I also love the style of the words, which were all written by the artist. The way she bends and folds the words around the beautiful scenery just takes my breath away.
Alana and Marko are from two planets at war with each other. Alana has winds and her planet is technologically advanced. Marko has magic and horns. Alana was Marko's prison guard, but fell in love with him after sharing the best book ever with him. She then helps him escape, but is hunted down by Prince Robot IV.... This story has everything! Every single thing that I want to read about, every awesome thing in fiction or in the universe period that I want to put into my brain, can be found in this one book! Shape-shifting robots, magical tree-rockets, a half blown apart spirit babysitter, mercenaries whose first names are all "The"... just, everything! It has quickly become my favorite new story. Reading the story, it feels huge, like, way to big for me to understand, but just big enough for me to enjoy. There is no way I can do the story justice here. You've got to check it out for yourself!