Friday, June 20, 2014

Weekly Book Review: Saga Volume 1

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Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn
Illustrated by Fiona Stables
Released: March 2012
Genre: Graphic Novel/Science Fiction/Fantasy


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.

[From Goodreads.]


Saga is at once beautiful, touching, funny, dark, and absolutely, totally, 100% insane. From TV-headed robots to cheeky teenage ghosts, Saga walks a thin line between science-fiction and fantasy, but it does so with such confidence that all resulting weirdness seems entirely appropriate for both setting and story. This isn't the sort of story that offers up its oddities with an abundance of exposition meant to make them seem realistic, and it doesn't have to be. It's all totally in line with the story being told.

Some of the book's best moments come from the little interactions between Alana and Marko, the star-crossed lovers who serve as the story's leads. The duo talk and fight like a real couple, though their spats come with a good deal more wit and charm than most real couples could muster. They may be members of two warring alien species that bare suspicious resemblance to mythological creatures (Alana a faerie, Marko a satyr minus the cloven hooves), but their relationship is surprisingly down-to-earth. Most other characters aren't given enough page space to truly shine, at least not yet, but the lives they tease seem worth looking forward to.

Be warned: all isn't humor and charm with Saga. This is an adult series with some very adult themes. It approaches a few dark topics (see: events on a planet called Sextillion), and its action scenes are awash with blood. Sexual content is everywhere (Again, there is a planet called Sextillion. Rest assured that its name has nothing to do with 1021.), and it's often just as graphic as its genre would suggest.

Saga barrels along at breakneck speed with nary a pause to catch its breath. Every moment of safety is shortly broken by some unexpected development that sends our protagonists fleeing to the next. While it can get exhausting, the chaos establishes the book's hectic tone to great effect.

A highlight of the series is Fiona Staples' art. Dynamic when need-be and always beautiful, every panel represents its story well. The beautiful cover drew me in, but it was her talent in combination with Brian K. Vaughn's that kept me reading.
My biggest complaint is that this volume was over far too soon. I've already ordered the next two, and barring some unexpected disappointment, I'll eagerly await Volume 4's publication.

You should also read:

Y: The Last Man
Volume 1

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