Note: This review is part of the 2016 Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight.
Saga Vol 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Art by Fiona Staples
Release Date: October 10, 2012
Publisher: Image Comics
Genre: Science Fiction
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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 bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, 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.
Collects Saga issues #1-6. Winner of the 2013 Hugo award for Best Graphic Story. Named one of Time Magazine’s top 10 graphic novels for 2013.
So when you read the synopsis for Saga, it doesn’t read as anything particularly special. Your typical star crossed lovers story, yeah? But when you know who is attached to this project, it makes a world of difference. I am a fan of Brian K. Vaughan’s work, so I knew that I had to read Saga. I’m embarrassed to say that it took me so long to finally get to this but I am so, so glad that I can now say that I have and I can’t wait to catch up as soon as possible.
The story, which follows Alana and Marko’s fight for survival, is told by their daughter, Hazel who we meet at the very beginning of the story though she’s being born at the time the story begins so there’s a ton that Present Hazel is catching us up on. We meet Alana and Marko and Hazel on the day that they become a family which so happens to be the day their being on the run gets kicked into high gear.
I love the little character details like how Alana likes to drink and that Marko is a vegetarian. I wonder how we’ll get to see this shown more in the story and I can’t wait to find out more little things about them all.
What makes this story stand out among the rest is that this star crossed story follows an interracial couple. It’s one thing to fall in love with someone from a different planet, but to so clearly show that that’s not where the differences end, to so distinctly make this couple interracial is so appreciated and so exciting to see.
Aside from the romance, there are multiple freelance agents who’ve been hired to find and kill either the entire family or just the couple while retrieving the baby alive. I love that we get to see not only their journeys but the relationship dynamics amongst the freelancers and power dynamics throughout as well. I love the stakes all around. For Alana and Marko, for the freelancers. Everyone has a goal and conflicts, and grey areas. Be it being the bad guy with a conscious deep down or the good guy trying to find his way out of resorting to violence to save the day.
On top of this, there are secrets that I didn’t expect to see and beings I never thought I would. Shout out to ghost Izabel. Who would have thought a ghost would show up in a sci-fi story? This story doesn’t bind itself to such tight genre constraints and that’s also fun to see. Finally, who wants a Lying Cat in their life?
Saga takes us on a violent ride you won’t want to get off anytime soon. It’s a romance unlike most we see as it shows more of the off balance moments than the rest which is so raw and refreshing and all kinds of wonderful.
Overall, this is just total loads of fun no matter how you look at it. It’s wild and outrageous and a thrill on every page. and the art is absolutely phenomenal. Just so fantastic. This is the first that I’ve seen of Fiona Staples’s work and just based off this alone, I can say she’s one of my favorites. Everything about this story works. And it’s just the kind of story you’re looking to fly through in the time it takes to watch a summer blockbuster and perhaps here you’ll come out feeling even more satisfied. So if you haven’t read Saga yet, don’t wait forever to get around to it like me.
Note: Saga is for mature audiences.