Review by Kai Parker.
Imagine if Star Wars had been about all the weird aliens in the famous cantina scene instead of the boring humans. That could well be the premise of Saga, the new comic book series from Brian K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man) and Fiona Staples (North 40). Easily one of the most buzzed-about comics of last year, Saga is one of the rare cases where the end product actually lives up to the hype. Fast-paced, clever, wholly original and gorgeously drawn, this is sci-fi space opera at its best and most ambitious.
The tale follows a young, interspecies couple, Alana and Marko, on the run from their respective parent races, each on opposite sides of a long-running, galaxy-spanning war. Their recently-born daughter, Hazel, who narrates the tale from an uncertain point in the future, gets the attention of both sides, who send a colorful cast of rogues, robots, and bounty hunters to retrieve her. None of this sounds exactly new, but Fiona Staples’ artwork, and Vaughan’s terrific writing, bring new takes on these old clichés and make everything seem fresh and original. What also stands out is the versatility Vaughan and Staples are able to bring, as the scope of the tale is simultaneously enormous on a galaxy-wide scale and breathtakingly-intimate when focusing on sweet moments of interaction between the young family at its core. There’s all the action you’d expect from a good sci-fi adventure, but these scenes are mixed in with moments of legitimate humor and warmth. Vaughan is also not afraid to mix in elements of fantasy as well. This is a story where magic, ghosts and ancient spacefaring trees blend effortlessly alongside invisible hover tanks and sentient robots, with none of it ever seeming out of place, due largely to Staples’ vibrant illustrations, which make every panel visually captivating.
While Saga is an easy recommendation as is, the first six issues were recently collected into a trade paperback that can be found for only $10, making it a hell of a bargain in the process. Fans of sci-fi or comic books shouldn’t hesitate to pick this one up.