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Saga, Vol. 1 Paperback – October 10, 2012
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. 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.
Brian K. Vaughan has created an adult comic (I feel like I have to clarify that it’s adult, because YA is my default expectation for this space) for fans of science fiction, star-crossed love and action adventure. The first volume has a lot going on: birth, death, berserker rages, interspecies conflict, a sex planet, ghosts, crazy spaceships, and a life-changing romance novel (that bit made me laugh)(in a good way).
This comic does a lot of things well: multiple threads of story tied into the main plot line via an unusual omniscient narrator, exciting visuals, star-crossed love just fighting to survive, and humorous dialogue throughout. It is also a set-up for a wide-ranging epic, but the volume has enough skirmishes, close calls, and surprises to make it satisfying and interesting as a standalone.
That said, I was not impressed by main heroine Alana’s dialogue. Whether it fits the character in the context of the series or not, I can’t say. I was just disappointed to read pages of the jealous/nagging wife cliché when there were other more interesting (and life-threatening!) things going on at the same time. So that bit into my enjoyment – and I am going to skip reading further volumes. The one plot thread that really got its hooks into me was that of the Robot Prince – I thought the robot royal characters seemed really innovative and suited to the comics medium.
If you’ve been thinking you’d like to “try” comics, like science fiction, and don’t care for superheroes, Saga is a good place to start. Just be aware that this first volume pulls no punches – it’s R-rated. And if you’re more of a fantasy fan, I’d suggest starting out with Bill Willingham’s Fables.
Recommended for: comics newbies and veterans alike – basically anyone interested in a complex space adventure with enough action to keep the story moving and enough depth to hook most readers for the long haul.
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.