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I’ve been keeping my eye out for graphic novels that might be a fit for Carl’s Science Fiction Experience for a month or so now, so when I spotted this one the other day in Waterstones I quickly snapped it up. Especially as I had heard great things about Brian K. Vaughan’s previous works (although I’ve never read one).
And Oh. My. God. am I glad I did! Saga was a brilliant introduction to his works. This edition is a bind up of the first six issues of the comic book series, and tells the story of a young couple, Alana and Marko from the opposing sides in an intergalactic war. The couple met when Alana was assigned to guard Mark who is a military prisoner of her people, neither of them really want to be soldiers, in fact Marko has turned his back on violence.
Their story is told by Hazel, the daughter that is born in the first few pages. In fact it’s as much her story as it is her parents. I really liked the way her narration is handled, it’s as if she’s jotted her thoughts about what is happening at any given time, straight on to the panels. (and what gorgeous panels they are, but more on that later…)
On the run from both sides, Alana and Marko must do everything they can to escape capture, including bonding with a teenage ghost girl called Izabel, who is an utter delight and very much a teenager at times! and make it to a forest of rocket ships, and when I say forest…
We also get to see those that are sent to chase them down, and it was great to see there’s much more to all of them than just being the scary bad guys (and boy, are they scary! both in looks and in their relentless ability to do what they do), but they each have other sides, and we get to see them. (I’m beginning to suspect this series is called Saga for a reason!)
But it’s the relationship between Alana and Marko, that I enjoyed the most, they have a great line in banter and often rib each other mercilessly,
even in especially in the most inappropriate moments. It really shows the strength of their relationship in a way that a million soppier moments could ever hope to manage.
I said I’d mention the art work and Fiona Staples art is another thing I really enjoyed about Saga. Sometimes you want the art in a graphic novel to fade on to the page, and let the story do the heavy lifting, other times not.
It’s definitely the latter, with Fiona Staples work in Saga. While the colours are often on the earthy/muted side, I’d argue that they are at the same time, incredibly vibrant (which is a neat trick!), just like is should do, the art, fair jumps off the page.
The art and story-telling are true partners in the creation of Marko, Alana & Hazel’s story, while both elements are strong in their own right, neither would work as well without the other.
By-the-way this is an adult graphic novel, (as I was instantly made aware of, with the first page I flicked to in the store!) so you should know, there are graphic scenes of sex and violence in this one, both in the writing and the art. It’s not overdone, but it is there.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, jumps straight in, as one of my favourite graphic novels of recent times and I have already pre-ordered volume 2.
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. From “New York Times” bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (“Y: The Last Man”, “Ex Machina”) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (“Mystery Society”, “North 40″), “Saga” is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.