Evil Geek Book Report – Saga Vol. 1
SAGA, I’ve been hearing about this comic all year. Especially lately it’s been all over Best Of 2012 lists. Hell, I even recommended it based on hype alone to our very own ladylumos on one of our first podcasts without having read it yet. I had been meaning to pick it up and see if it lived up to the heaps of accolades piled on to it but I hadn’t gotten around to it. A few weeks ago a friend had gifted me a copy of Vol.1 (covering issues #1-6), so I thought what better time now?
The series is a globetrotting space opera set against the back drop of a galactic war. In its simplest terms however, it’s a story about a baby, a baby born at the wrong time to the right people. Two members of opposite warring factions, Alana is from the technologically advanced Landfall and Marko hails from Wreath a planet whose inhabitants have honed magical skills and attributes. They fell in love when the solider Marko was imprisoned and Alana was assigned to guard him. 12 hours later they escaped together. As the first issue begins we witness the birth of their daughter, Hazel. Shortly afterward collations from both sides have tracked them down leading to a narrow and bloody escape. Such sets the pattern of our star crossed lovers and their doomed child and in doing so also lays the foundation of the book.
Each side of the war has sent their own methods of obtaining our main characters. Landfall has dispatched Prince Robot IV to hunt them. Stupid name? Yes. But seemingly a very interesting character. He has a human body but a tv head that randomly flashes images. (Perhaps what we are seeing are his thoughts? This hasn’t been revealed yet, but I’m definitely curious). We don’t get a lot of information on him throughout these first six issues, but his potential is intriguing.
Meanwhile, Wreath has chosen The Will, a badass mercenary who operates under his own moral code and ethics. He’s firmly rooted in the Han Solo archetype. The Will has been instructed by a female named Vez to snuff out Alana and Marko quickly before news travels to the troops and threatens their morale. Curiously, she asks for the baby to be returned back to her alive. Begging the question will baby Hazel end up being a prophesized savior in the Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker tradition? We know she lives because occasionally the comic is narrated by her from some point in the future. The Will also finds himself directly in competition with another mercenary (and former lover) The Stalk a highly skilled professional who has 8 eyes and 6 crab like legs, reminding me a little bit of Arachnid from Transformers Prime.
Saga is almost a lone wolf and cub/fugitive on the run type story set in outer space, as Marko and Alana fight against all odds to keep themselves and their child alive. It bends many genres together until they sit comfortably next to one another. It boasts some of the most imaginative locations and creatures since the original Star Wars trilogy. No doubt that a good chunk of that praise should be directed toward the artist Fiona Staples who does a marvelous job bringing these creations to life and making them look realistic. Author, Brian K. Vaughaun has said that he wanted to do something grandiose that would only work in comic book medium. Something that would be too costly to properly recreate the vibe for TV and too adult and weird for a summer block buster. He has certainly achieved this. What’s always most interesting to me about wide spanning stories like these are the mythology and history of their created world. While we were able to garner bits and pieces during these six issues, I can only imagine there is much more to come since the universe of Saga already feels fully formed.
Does it live up the hype? Definitely. It’s of the most unique and creative comics I’ve read in a long time (it feels good to step outside superheroes every once in a while). It accomplishes what Star Wars does so well, it takes many disparate elements and turns them into something new while at the same time feeling incredibly familiar and ancient. It’s like playing a video game you’re already acquainted with from the past but the story and twists and turns of the lay out keep it fresh and exciting. It’s also the perfect amount of violence (for me). Taking place during a war, I feared the book would be piled knee deep in corpses. There is certainly some violence and gore but it’s minimal.
Another all important lesson that could be learned from Saga is the pricing. This 6 issue 160 page trade paperback’s cover price was $9.99, the Minimum Carnage trade paperback clocking in at 152 pages sells with a cover price of $24.99. Marvel is charging $15 more for 8 less pages! Thank you Image comics for respecting me as a consumer and not taking advantage of my wallet.
All in all it’s worth picking up. The story alone is great and the pricing makes it a no brainer. So do yourself a favor and treat yourself to something new and interesting.
That’s all for this time fellow nerds!
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