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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Saga Volume 1

Title:
Saga Volume 1







ISBN:
9781607066019


Price:
$9.99


Publisher/Year:
Image, 2012


Artist: Fiona Staples


Writer:
Brian K. Vaughan


Collects:
Saga #1-6





Rating:
4/5





Saga’s
been the talk of the comic town since it first hit stands back in March 2012,
and rightly so. Praise had been pretty much unanimous for this Brian K. Vaughan
and Fiona Staples series, with many reviews comparing its scope and magnanimity
to epics like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Though Saga does borrow from
specific science fiction and fantasy tropes, it’s by and large its own beast.
From the shocking first page to the charming final cliffhanger, Saga Vol. 1 is
a crash course in comic storytelling, written and drawn by two of the finest
creators in the industry. It’s absolutely marvelous.





Explaining
Saga to a friend is akin to relating a surreal DalĂ­ painting realistically. In
a tale of star-crossed lovers, Vaughan weaves multiple arcs around the fate of
a couple, Marko and Alana, and their young child ─ the narrator for the story,
providing a creative means of necessary exposition,  while also implementing some of the strangest
characters fiction has ever seen. Marko is a liberal-mouthed, horn-headed man
from a moon called Wreath, while Alana is a hard-nosed, wing-strutted woman
from a planet called Landfall. These two worlds have been at war for some time,
and serve as the Montagues and Capulets of the story. But like Romeo and
Juliet, Marko and Alana find each other, fall in love, and have a baby, leading
to representatives from both sides hunting them down. And then the strange ones
appear.





There’s
a bounty hunter, The Will, freelanced to hunt for the couple with his cat,
Lying Cat. No really, she’s called Lying Cat. Why? Because she can sniff out
lies, duh. There’s Prince Robot IV, who is really just a gray man with a TV for
a head. A member of the Robot Kingdom, which has strenuous ties to Landfall,
Prince Robot IV is also forced to find the lovers. Along the way we meet a
spider woman, a monkey man, and a ghost missing half its body.





It’s
funny to think about how ridiculous these creations are, but in truth, they’re
some of the realest characters I’ve ever encountered. From page one, Vaughan
supplies Marko and Alana’s relationship with such a beautiful disquietude that
you can feel their need for escape. The reader opens to Alana in labor, Marko’s
head hidden between her legs, and no one thinks, hey, why does that guy have
horns? It’s the love that comes off the page, and when Marko steps back and
says, “You have never been as beautiful as you are right now,” it’s not corny.
It’s real. The Will’s a loner, and the emptiness of space seems to ring true in
his eyes. Prince Robot IV’s a victim of shell shock, as remnants of the war
appear on his screen. Vaughan’s knack for deep-rooted characters is nothing
new; he did it in Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and Pride of Baghdad. But Saga’s
different. The characters in Saga feel like the friends you make in dreams from
which you refuse to wake.





Fiona
Staples was not just the right choice for this book, she was the only choice.
While Vaughan built the Saga world on these outstanding, fantastical ideas,
Staples built it on the tiniest details. From the shading on both planet’s
surfaces to the grotesque beauty of Marko and Alana’s freshly received
daughter, the level of detail here is unparalleled. Much in the way Star Wars
is memorable not just for its stories, but also for the look and feel of its
worlds, Saga has a look and feel all its own. It’s truly a testament to
Staples’ pencils that there is no Marko and Alana without her. In another
artist’s hands, it would feel contrived and ineloquent.





Saga’s
worth the hype. It’s epic in scope, but brimming with hilarity only found in
the most irreverent sitcoms. The characters are memorable, the situations are
unforgettable, and in the end, it’s a book worth reading not once, but over and
over again.

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