Overview

Saga #1

Review

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Saga #1

Credits

  • Words: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Art: Fiona Staples
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 14, 2012

Saga offers an entire galaxy to explore, while focusing on one amazing family.

Saga marks the highly anticipated and long awaited return of Brian K. Vaughan to the world of comics; a return that is sure to have set expectations at an astronomically high level.  Not only does the creator of amazing works such as Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina surpass these expectations, but his space-opera shatters all fears and doubts.  Despite being only one installment in, Saga is written with such painstakingly organized detail, with a scope sure to be larger than the size of a whole galaxy, and with such memorable and likeable characters that it is destined to rival the most beloved science fiction universes.

With an entire galaxy’s worth of planets, cultures, and history to explore throughout the course of Saga, Vaughan starts issue #1 on a much smaller scale, with the birth of a young child born to loving parents caught in the midst of a galactic war.  Hiding out in a small and inhospitable workshop are Alana, a beautiful and confident winged woman of the planet Landfall, and her ram-horned optimistic husband Marko, of Landfall’s moon Wreath.  Behind the lovers’ trusting iron-clad connection lies a deep-seeded cultural hatred between the two homeworlds, one that the pair may have moved past, but which will be the root of their life on the run and the tale of Saga.  Almost instantly after their yet-to-be-named child is born, the pair come under attack from two squads dispatched from each their worlds, forcing Alana and Marko to become fugitives, to run, fight, and hide for their lives and that of their child.  Enemies from both worlds want, even demand, the death of Alana and Marko, each believing their love to be a travesty that will plunge both sides deeper into war.

The amount of universe building Vaughan accomplishes within this single issue is staggering, and an attempt to break down each and every detail would surely be a disservice to the book.  The scale of Saga, both in terms of the war that plagues the entire galaxy and the amount of characters and motives introduced is immense, yet always remains concise and clear.  From the numerous character interactions throughout the title, the mutual disgust and hatred between Landfall and Wreath, likewise becomes apparent and disheartening.  Vaughan does not limit himself to focusing solely on Landfall and Wreath, however, as countless unique species make their way into Saga.  Several of these species appear more bizarre than the previous, yet somehow make perfect sense within the fold of the story; catlike creatures, quickly upstaged by impish crocodile servants, finally outclassed by androids with monitors for heads.  If the intention was to make Saga the home of a wholly conceived universe, with conflicting cultures and livelihoods, Vaughan certainly succeeded. 

As amazing as Saga’s universe is, however, the true heart of the book is the dynamic between Alana and Marko.  Marko’s optimistic and hopeful mindset is perfectly matched by Alana’s more practical and realistic personality.  The first few pages of Saga perfectly capture their vibrant and deep relationship as Marko coaches his wife through the painful birth of their child, while Alana’s mind wanders to some humorous yet less-than-imperative questions.  With an entire galaxy set on their destruction, the tale of Saga is sure to be as much the story of a family on the run, as it the interaction between these two great characters.

The other half of Vaughan’s fantastic new series, and the one responsible for bringing both the characters and universe to life, is Fiona Staples.  Staples’ work is quite wonderful on both a visual and storytelling level.  The designs of not only Alana and Marko, but the bizarre creatures that inhabit the galaxy of Saga are strangely believable, while their planets are packed with full-fledged cities marked by their own appearance and culture.  Staples’ art is more than just great visuals, however, as her understanding of storytelling heightens the tension and emotions of scenes across the entirety of the book.  The showdown that mars the birth of Marko and Alana’s child is a perfect demonstration of how the comics medium allows the reader’s eye to linger over the most intense moments, lengthening the anxiety of each frame, and ultimately making their survival all the more impactful.  With the crux of Saga resting on the relationship between the lead characters, Vaughan could not have found a better partner than Staples.

Since its announcement, the anticipation surrounding Saga continually mounted, raising expectations higher and higher.  Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples delivered a book that not only met those expectations, but surpassed and shattered them in each and every way.  Saga’s story of loving parents turned fugitives, finding themselves at odds with their homeworlds, and caught in the middle of an epic war, is the space-opera offering that promises an entire universe to explore.  

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Comments

  • Jason Wilkins

    Jason Wilkins Mar 15, 2012 at 1:06am

    Excellent review for an excellent book! Great job Jason!

  • Richard Boom

    Richard Boom Mar 15, 2012 at 2:17am

    I am very ery curious about this one!! Thanks for all the coverage guys!!

  • JasonClyma

    JasonClyma Mar 16, 2012 at 3:19am

    Thanks, guys :) It's definitely a must have, Rich!

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