2.28.2014

Saga, Volumes I and II, by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Once upon a time, a planet and its moon went to war. Because destroying the enemy would mean the victor would be destroyed too, the war moved to other planets. The wings and the horns and their allies have been fighting ever since. There is so much bad blood and so much is invested in the war that fighting will probably never stop. Both sides are taught to hate each other from childhood. It would take something remarkable to change the status quo.

Saga, Volume I
When volume I of Saga, by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, begins, something remarkable has happened. Alana, one of the wings, is giving birth to a child conceived with Marko, one of the horns. Minutes later, soldiers storm in and try to kill them. Marko and Alana go on the run. Mercenaries are sent after them, with orders to kill them and kidnap their child. Vaughn and Staples let their story roam across worlds to introduce us to the hunters, their bosses, and the history that led us up to his point. One touch that I simply loved was that Hazel, Alana and Marko's daughter, also acts as a narrator in this story. She hints at what will happen later and raises the stakes of the story even higher.

Saga is full of wonderful characters and the universe they inhabit is stunningly rich. In just the first volume there are ghosts and rocketships made of trees, monstrous spider assassins, a cat that can tell when you're lying, magic, and sinister robots. I enjoyed volume I so much that I immediately bought volume II so I could see what happens next.

Saga, Volume II
In Volume II, Marko and Alana have been joined by Marko's parents--who were somewhat shocked to find that he'd married someone they considered the enemy. Marko's mother does not take it well. She gets even more irritated when her son rushes off to rescue their ghost babysitter. Alana and Marko are still being tracked across the galaxy, but this time another hunter has joined in: Marko's ex-fiancee, Gwendolyn. There's so much story packed into this volumes that trying to explain it here wouldn't do the story justice.

Besides, you need to see the artwork.

Talking about images on this blog is unusual for me. But, you kind of have to when you're reviewing a graphic novel. Fiona Staples' artwork is beautiful and bold; the colors are vibrant. I loved that its style is understated. Staples doesn't go for absolute realism, but each frame is incredibly detailed. The images do so much heavy lifting in Saga that I think a print only version would run to several heavy volumes to try and capture the sheer imagination at play here.

I can hardly wait for volume III to come out next month.

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