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Saturday, September 28, 2013

“Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples' (Reviewed by Casey Blair)

Order “Saga, Volume 1HERE
Order “Saga, Volume 2HERE
Read a Preview HERE


Saga is an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples, published monthly by Image Comics. The series is heavily influenced by Star Wars, and based on ideas Vaughan conceived as both a child and as a parent. It depicts two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series.

ANALYSIS: You may have heard of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga if you followed the Hugo Awards, as it took the prize for Best Graphic Story. Honestly, I don't follow many graphic novels, but for Volume 2 I marked the release on my calendar.

If you're not normally a graphic novel reader, Saga is for you.

If you are a regular graphic novel reader and are tired of the same old, Saga is also for you.

Really Saga is for everyone, unless you prefer your stories without things like profanity and sex, because those do happen in Saga. Right from the beginning, so you know what you're getting into (I mean, not really, but at least a sense of the tone) from the get-go.

Saga is some sort of cross between space opera and epic fantasy. The narrator is telling the story of her history, which is a framing voice that would normally annoy me, but the story is so good that I don't even care.

We have the multiple POVs characteristic of an epic, the sprawling scope and travel between worlds. We have magic powered by secrets, an organic spaceship that follows thoughts when it feels like it. We have Lying Cat, who is the best ever, and we have a royal family with TV boxes for heads. We have a trashy romance novel serving as catalyst and framing device for one of the most daring coups in the galaxy.

The story is fundamentally optimistic, but it does not shy away from dealing with the cost of war. We have characters with PTSD, characters we love who die and leave loved ones behind to try to cope, and a ghost babysitter who's missing her lower half because of this ongoing war.

Saga is at turns, and sometimes at once, beautiful and horrifying. This is not a coming of age narrative, nor a defeat all-the-bad-guys type of story. It's much more complicated than that, and even the “bad guys” have sympathetic and complex motivations.

This is one of the most innovative and poignant things out there right now. Check out Saga.


Brian K. Vaughan is the Eisner Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling writer of Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Runaways, and Pride of Baghdad. Vaughan lives in Los Angeles, where he worked as a writer, story editor and producer of the hit television series Lost during seasons three through five. He is currently the showrunner and executive producer of the CBS TV series Under The Dome.


A graduate of the Alberta College of Arts & Design, Fiona Staples is a critically-acclaimed artist of such comic books as Mystery Society and North 40 for which she was nominated for an Eisner Award. In 2013, Fiona received Harvey Awards for Best Artist and Best Colourist for the Eisner, Harvey & Hugo Award-winning comic book series Saga.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! Glad you guys have started reviewing graphic novels! Keep it up! :)

Andrew Knighton said...

I really loved the first volume of Saga, and am looking forward to reading the second. I think it does well at making the anything goes madness of space opera strange again, instead of recreating images and ideas that were once strange and original but have become familiar through use.


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