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Saga, Vol. 1 Paperback – October 10, 2012
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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*Starred Review* Vaughan, writer of the hugely successful Y: The Last Man, isn’t one to think small. In this opener to his ambitious new series, bits of sf space opera and classic fantasy mesh in setting a sprawling stage for an intensely personal story of two lovers, cleverly narrated by their newborn daughter. Though recently soldiers from opposite sides of a massive intergalactic war, moth-winged Alana and ram-horned Marko simply want peace and anonymity to raise their daughter (an abomination to the powers that be) away from conflict and hatred. Vaughan’s whip-snap dialogue is as smart, cutting, and well timed as ever, and his characters are both familiar enough to acclimate easily to and deep enough to stay interested in as their relationships bend, break, and mend. While Vaughan will be the star power that attracts readers, do-it-all artist Staples is going to be the one who really wows them. Her character designs dish out some of the best aliens around, the immersive world-crafting is lushly detailed and deeply thought through, and the spacious layouts keep the focus squarely on the personal element, despite the chaotic cosmos they inhabit. Add another winner to Vaughan’s stable of consistently epic, fresh, and endearing stories. --Ian Chipman
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On the other hand, let me warn Amazon customers. Amazon ships this book in its infamous cardboard folders with no protection whatsoever. And it’s quite a thick book that barely fits in the aforementioned cardboard folder, so every hit the box takes during the trip to your house is going to be absorbed by the book.
Every single corner of the book’s cover and back cover, except for one, was dented and even coming apart. A real shame. I repeat, Amazon ships this book with no protection whatsoever, so be wary, especially if you do not reside in the US.
It is ALL the things.
The very first page of the very first chapter of SAGA, sets the tone for the whole series (thus far). You're slapped in the face with the wonder and the ICK of childbirth. Some of you might think the bodily fluids, the wordless, guttural shouts that accompany the pushing, and the million other aspects of child labor are part of the miracle, and you're allowed . . .
In an abstract way, I'm not sure I disagree. But from an impartial bystander perspective . . . all of that is the opposite side of the bringing-a-new-life-that-you-helped-create-into-the-world coin.
It's gross, man.
And if that's a juxtaposition you don't think you can appreciate, then I'm going to go ahead and say goodbye until next time. There is nothing for you here.
B/c that's what SAGA is: finding the beauty in the ugliness of life.
It's overcoming a lifetime of ingrained prejudice only to discover your victory was merely the first hurdle in the journey. It's growing apart b/c life is life, then coming back together in the face of shared tragedy.
It's the determination to remain bitter about past slights opening the door to a new path. It is pain and loss and healing and forgiveness, and it's continuing to put one foot in front of the other, b/c more than anything else, you have to keep moving.
It's life. With all the accompanying brilliance and horror, and it is masterfully done. I flew through all six collected volumes in an afternoon, and I seriously doubt I'll have the willpower to wait for the next collection before reading the individually released chapters.
That's a first in the graphic novel arena, by the way. But I see serial releases in my future, and I'm not even going to try to fight it.
Marko and Alana are two soldiers on opposite sides of a war, who, against all odds, fall in love. SAGA is their story, and it's the story of the ripples their love makes in the pond of their universe. There were times I thought my heart would burst with happiness, and there were times that I felt physically ill.
Two sides. One coin.
Your turn. Highly recommended to mature adults.
Both sides want these two and their newborn baby girl separated and locked up (or dead) but, as it happens, both sides hate and fear each other more than they want to take care of the renegades and the inevitable happens. It's one of the oldest cliches in the book but I think it's forgivable in this instance. And it's a sign of the tone that Vaughan is trying to set: deadly serious but also occasionally playful and humorous. This is very tough to pull off and few writers can successfully handle this mix but Vaughan succeeds.
As the story continues, Vaughan fills us in on more of the back story, as we find that our two protagonists come from worlds that have been at war since time immemorial, with Alana, the mother coming from Landfall, and Marko, the father, coming from Wreath, which is a moon circling Landfall. Since an all-out war between the planet and its moon has the potential to be deadly to both, the war is being conducted by surrogates and allies all across the galaxy, including on the planet Cleave, where the story begins.
With the family being hunted by both sides, Alana and Marko need to find their way offworld. Most of this volume is dedicated to their efforts to evade capture, take care of their new baby, and find their way to a means of escape using a map that they are horribly afraid is nothing but a fantasy. We also see other characters of interest introduced, including Prince Robot IV, a member of the ruling family of the Robot world, a couple of assassins, "The Will" and "The Stalk" (former lovers and now competitors), who have been hired by a mysterious unicorn-horned woman known only as Vez to take out Alana and Marko but to deliver their offspring alive, a helpful ghost named Izabel, a former fiance named Gwendolyn, a slave girl rescued by The Will, and Marko's parents.
The art by Fiona Staples serves the story well, never too intrusive or overwhelming but consistently solid and well-done. The backgrounds are mostly soft and subtle, with the focus on the characters themselves, not on where they are.
This is an adult series in both senses of the word. It's thought-provoking, with real depth to the characters and the history, and it's not afraid to show nudity, sex, and violence. There is a lot going on in this story and Vaughan gives us characters we can genuinely care about. It's hard to fit this into a typical comic book pigeonhole but I will say that I found it fascinating and I highly recommend this series.
There is nothing more to be said than has already been said about this perfect series. I cannot highly recommend this enough, for there is something for everyone within these pages to behold. This release itself also happens to contain tons of extras for fans who have already picked up the singular issues. Do yourself a favor and do not hesitate to make this worthwhile purchase.
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I thoroughly enjoyed the message of nonviolence and the main...Read more