Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, is one of the first graphic novels I’ve read. I found it recommended on a list a long time ago, logged it into the memory bank, and nearly forgot about it until I found it again, much later, in a bookstore. And began to read.
It is the story of two new parents, Alana and Marko, who come from two races which are bitterly at war with each other. Their child is hunted by both races and nowhere in the universe is safe from the conflict. I read Saga #1 in one sitting with my breath held, and I cannot wait to find the chance to read the rest of the series.
I haven’t read many (or any) graphic novels so this review can’t compare it to other series or the ‘greats’ in the genre (whatever they are! I know of Watchmen… V for Vendetta… Persepolis … Maus). However, in itself I think there is much, much to recommend it and I believe it would appeal to both fans of graphic novels and newcomers to the genre such as myself.
The artwork itself is beautiful, glossy, colourful, fluid, with pretty, flowing elements juxtaposed with frightening, horrific ones, and many twists of one’s expectations — the Spaceship Forest, the ghost children, and more as examples which come to mind. Some images are disturbing, some sexually explicit, some blood and gore — but altogether nothing out of place. Dialogue between characters is witty and natural, believable and engrossing. I was really interested in what people were saying and where they were coming from.
But it is the story itself which shines. The adventure-in-space epic will never grow old, and this story never gave off the impression that it was relying on staid or tried-and-true tropes of the genre. The adventure itself is quirky, fast-paced, and entirely awesome. The diverse alien worlds and species were richly fleshed out, and I wanted to know more about everything. Alana and Marko, the heroes, held up the story very well, and provided a heartwarming and believable romance, but a shout-out needs to go to the villains, who were fascinating and richly imaged — the bored prince with his pregnant wife, The Will (a bounty hunter) with his morals and a very sticky past with another bounty hunter, The Stalk.
The story ended on a cliffhanger and — actually — I need to go buy the next book now. Brb.