Wednesday, May 17, 2017

SAGA VOL. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Yes, I know I'm a bit of a "Richie-Come-Lately" to this Saga party and you've probably heard this before, but I'm here now, better late than never. This one is the real deal, this is what great comic book work is supposed to be: creative, original writing, iconic art, and most importantly (and I suppose the most difficult), a fine balance between the sequential art and written word. I always think it's important to understand what is going on, to provide just enough text to be able to understand things that you can't portray with pictures, but it's also important to avoid getting so wordy to the point that the writer probably should've just written a novel (Dark Tower books, anyone?).

Saga is an epic space opera that takes place in a far away galaxy where two warring races have been battling for generations. In the middle of the fight are two enemy soldiers, Alana and Marko, who fall in love, and along with their newborn baby, must evade both sides of the fight to find a safe place to start their family.

The makers of this series are really singular in their vision. It's so refreshing to see a piece of work so wholly original. And I think that Brian Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples achieve this by completely ripping away the limitations of their imagination. It's as if they reverted parts of their brains back to those of their six-year-old selves and just let all the crazy shit fly out and onto paper! Not only is our hero a magical warrior with horns on his head and our heroine a soldier with wings that shoots a pistol that stuns you by breaking your heart, but there's also a prince that has a television for a head, a seahorse that's also a talent agent, a bounty hunter client that walks around with a big hairless grumpy cat that is also a lie detector, and he's sad about getting friend-zoned by the love of his life, which happens to be this thing:

But the real genius is being able to wrangle all of these wacky ideas into something relatable, charming, and enthralling. It's got well-drawn action, witty, smart comedy, all mixed in with moments of tenderness. I can see what all the fuss is about with Saga. Based on the covers, I didn't think that this comic series would interest me, but boy was I wrong. And if you haven't read it for that reason, you're probably wrong too, so definitely give it a try. If you're a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, you'll probably love Saga.


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