SAGA Volume 1&2
SAGA Volume 1 and 2 by Brian K. Vaughan (writer) and Fiona Staples (artist) is a comic that blends fantasy elements with space opera. The setting is a massive war between two empires fought throughout the universe with the protagonists, two young parents, trying to escape the war alive. They are both deserters from the two sides and present a union not yet seen. With their child being part of the two rival races they are hunted mercilessly. Not only because of their unbelievable union, but because the empires seem to hold special interest in their offspring.
The art is great. Not the best I’ve seen, but very fitting for the story. SAGA contains gore and sex, so it’s not a story for the young. Still, I’ve seen worse and it’s definitely not overdone or added for shock value. What I found the most amazing was how complementary both artwork and story were. The two authors tell and show us a unique universe and do so admirably. Giant War-Turtles, wooden spaceships, and a race that has an old-school monitor as a head are only a few of the great ideas. Especially the last example works much better than you might think!
The story is told from the perspective of the newborn child and interjected with commentary from her. While the overall plot doesn’t seem that singular, it is raised by great multi-dimensional characters. Not only the protagonists but their pursuers are more than meets the eye. The characters are what makes you tremble in fear and excitement. You feel for them and even pity them for their often horrifying past. Their fate in this war-torn universe is incalculable and – as a result – gripping. The occasional jokes and funny parts works well to liven up the otherwise more serious atmosphere.
The first volume doesn’t advance the story very far and is generally an introduction into the setting and parades the characters for the readers to marvel at their depth. The second volume brings a similarly measured pace with it that makes me hope for a sprawling story comparable to the vast universe it plays in.
In both volumes the ending is great, but holds a cliffhanger for the reader. I’m looking forward to what I find in volume 3, but I expect the same to apply to that volume. That makes waiting for new volumes to be released all the more aggravating. You could argue such a feeling is a good indicator for the excellence of the series. You wouldn’t be wrong.
I can only recommend them to anyone interested in comics and fantasy/Sci-Fi. It’s not a series for the squeamish, but every adult has probably seen or read about worse in every medium. The first two volumes seem to only scrape at the surface of the setting and story and I’m certain the next installments will delve deeper into the imagination of the authors and unearth more than a few gems for any reader.
They were one of the first ‘american-style’ comics I’ve read in years and I haven’t regretted the purchase at all. I plan to get the third volume in the next weeks and am looking forward to continue the story about Alana, Marko, and their offspring. The fate of the secondary characters interests me nearly as much as what happens with the protagonists, which is a powerful statement about the overall strength of the characters in this series. SAGA definitely gets a thumbs up from me!