Currently Reading: SAGA

6 Jun

A recommendation by Orion Tippens

Saga 1 cover

The cover to Saga #1 (1st printing)

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Pencils: Fiona Staples

Published by: Image Comics

Notes: 3 single issues out so far (#1: 5 printings, #2: 2 printings, #3: 2 printings)

Saga is an epic sci-fi fantasy adventure drama unlike no other.

What this comic series is about:

Marko and Alana, alien lovers from opposing sides of a galactic war, give life to a newborn baby girl (who is also the narrator of the story, reflecting back). The three are threatened by warring armies, deadly hunters, and otherworldly creatures. Their journey in search of a safe haven takes them through strange landscapes, surviving on little. Meanwhile, there are interludes and other subplots involving other interesting players…

This ongoing story has much adult, mature-heavy content. I mean, there are robots having sex, an armless spider-woman with exposed boobs, surprise gore, and much expletives. So, not intended for children or others sensitive to such. For the rest of us, cool.

Why I enjoy this:

Saga is the perfect example of why I continue to explore new realms of science fiction, fantasy, and imaginative works in general. Nothing in Saga is too familiar to our contemporary times, except for our modern language and some camp additives. The rest is an escape to another universe with fantastic habitation meshed with galactic drama involving robots, beasts, wizards, and other weirdness – all wrapped in a captivating story, reminiscent of other epics including Dune, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones in which personal struggles balance with a grander conflict.

Saga excerpt 1Saga is written by Brian K. Vaughan – best known for his last critically acclaimed comics series, Y: the Last Man. The art is wonderfully drawn by Fiona Staples, an underrated artist who in time will be more widely appreciated for her work here. The two work perfectly together on Saga.

For me, the heart of Saga is the drama of its protagonists. We have this incredible love story: The find each other at opposite ends where Marko was a prisoner of war, Alana the jailer. They escape together and eventually bear a child. To continue this wonderful new family, they must still leave the conflict and start their own life (not easy). It’s a simple, beautiful premise.

The characters are interesting thanks to their unusual and ironic traits. Marko has this peaceful, gentle nature; unexpected for a alien with ram horns. Alana is tough and foul mouthed; unexpected for a woman with fairy wings. And the narrator (the baby) has wisdom gained from the experience.

There are forces both natural and unnatural that will affect their journey in some way – we just know it, because the other characters are that interesting, with names like “The Will,” “The Stalk,” the “Horrors.” They connect in some way, but not always as they seem, as good and evil are determined by their actions, not their behavior. Soon, decisions will be made on what is best for the child, leading to new alliances – and perhaps new enemies. The third issue does this best as an interesting pact is made, leaving me clamoring for more.

Saga excerpt 2The artwork is brilliant, well-defined and not overdone. I love the facial expressions and visual body language of the players. The digital resurfaced color in the backgrounds adds vibrancy and ambiance to the drama. The character designs and landscapes are striking and original, some on the verge of unreal. Thankfully, the reader’s probable familiarity with certain fantasy and science-fiction concepts will prepare them for understanding the strangeness. Yet, Saga doesn’t reinvent these concepts, but puts an interesting twist on certain stereotypes of the imagination by adding unique depth and style to each personality, whether it’s a robot with anger issues or a cat with clairvoyance.

So I recommend that you check out your local comics retailer or seek out the digital download of Saga. If you enjoy this series as much as I do, then tell a friend. Works of originality like this should be widely appreciated, while it’s still better known in its original single-issue form.

Orion Tippens – writer, addicted lover of imaginative work.

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One Response to “Currently Reading: SAGA”

  1. The Hook June 6, 2012 at 11:21 #

    Cool share, my comic book ally!

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