Science fiction and fantasy
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
This is a universe where anything goes, it seems. There's magic and high technology, and genetic hybrids of every stripe are everywhere. There is also a considerable amount of nudity, not only when one of the characters takes a detour on the brothel planet of Sextillion, but throughout the book. It's a bit gratuitous.
The story features a wry commentary by the baby girl, as though she's looking back on her life from old age. That appears to give us the comforting certainty that she'll survive, but there's no similar reassurance about her parents, and they are the main focus for this volume. In the midst of the panic and chaos of their escape attempt they inject a lot of humour with all their banter. I particularly liked Alana's earthy frankness. So although Saga is full of all kinds of monsters, and although it takes place amidst fear and war, it's also uplifting and cheerful in equal measure.
Fiona Staples' artwork is crisp and colourful, with the right amount of detail to tell the story clearly and at a good pace. This is a graphic novel with few clear-cut villains. The assassin known as The Will may not have a heart of gold, but it's at least shading into bronze rather than cold steel. And then there's Izabel, the teen ghost with a know-it-all attitude and a lust for adventure, who brightens up the dark nights.
Volume One ends without bringing together all the threads of a pretty elaborate story. I got the sense that this is meant to play out over quite an epic number of episodes, especially since the baby girl has her whole life ahead of her. The fact that the author was involved in the TV series Lost doesn't bode well, since all that show did was set up new mysteries and hooks for two series (I gave up watching after that) which rarely got resolved and hardly ever made any sense. I hope Saga won't turn out like that, because it's full of the sort of interesting and likeable characters that I'd like to see get their happy endings. There are lots of elements in this book, but so far it's engaging and coherent, so I have high hopes for this series.
25th February 2013
If you like this, try:Rat Queens Volume One: Sass And Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
A group of young women would rather get drunk and slay trolls than call their parents. A graphic novel.
The Complete Ballad Of Halo Jones by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson
Halo Jones strives for the perfect escape in this graphic novel.
Fairest: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham and Phil Jimenez
When Ali Baba finds two Sleeping Beauties, he has no idea which one he should wake with a kiss. A graphic novel featuring the characters from Fables.
Review © Ros Jackson