READ: June – September 2015
STATUS: Ongoing (five volumes so far)
AVERAGE RATING: ★★★★★
It’s hard to write a review of Saga without either repeating what’s already been said, or spoiling everything. But, here I am. Although, even if I wanted to explain the specifics to you, everything I say would sound mad anyway. For instance, Saga contains the following: a race of humanoids that have TV sets for heads, a bipedal talking seal, and a cyclopean novelist who writes pro-peace subtext into his smutty books. Really, I don’t know what else you need to hear to convince you to read this series.
I think it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t have gotten so far into this if I didn’t think it was brilliant. For me, at least, there hasn’t been a bad issue yet. Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, is a space-opera/fantasy series that follows two lovers, Alana and Marko, from warring planets trying to take care of their newborn daughter, Hazel, while on the run from various authorities. The series is occasionally narrated by Hazel, a technique that I’m a huge fan of. Having Hazel narrate adds a suspense, even foreboding, to the series that’s easier to connect with than if it were done by an unknown, omniscient narrator: Hazel knows what’s going to happen because it’s already happened to her.
I adore the art in this series. While I’m no expert on either art or comics, it’s what drew me into the series in the first place. I love the colours, the variety of the alien races, the attention to detail in every panel, the expressions on characters’ faces – so all of it, really. I love all of it. I especially love the final pages to each chapter, because they are consistently fantastic.
The plot is fast-paced and continually evolving. There are five volumes so far, and both the plot and the universe have expanded in every single one. Easily one of my favourite things in this series is that all of the characters are connected. In this case, they’re all connected through Alana, Marko, and Hazel, whether they’re allied with them or pursuing them. So while the story has wide scope, it also has focus, because even when the story isn’t about their family, it indirectly is, because it’s often the only reason the other characters are even interacting. Every character feels fully developed and very real. I love Alana and Marko, and I love seeing how their relationship develops over the course of the series. Their dynamic as a couple is really, really great. Hazel is, of course, adorable. I also really love Gwendolyn, Sophie, The Brand, and (obviously) Lying Cat. But my lowkey favourite is Prince Robot IV. I know he’s sort of a total bastard, but I am 100% here for it.
I should mention that this series is very adult; there’s a lot of graphic violence, and a lot of sex and nudity. I actually really like that there’s a balance between male and female nudity. It makes a nice change. It’s also incredibly funny, in lots of different ways.
I know that there’s a lot of hype surrounding this series, and I know that essentially all I’m doing here is contributing to it. But honestly, it completely deserves it. It’s brilliant. I can’t even begin to guess what’s going to happen as the story progresses, and I love it. That’s true on a chapter by chapter basis too. I never know what I’m going to get when I turn the page. Sometimes someone’s getting murdered, sometimes it’s a two-page spread of a giant lizard sucking its own dick. No, really.
These books are some of the best I’ve read all year, and Saga has been a really great entry point into comic books for me personally. So if anyone has recommendations for anything similar, or where to go with comics, I’d really appreciate it!