So after what feels like an eternity, I have finally got my hands on the first trade of “Saga,” the new series written by comic author Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples. It’s times like this where being a trade-waiter can be torture, as the MANY rave reviews this series has been getting have tempted me to start getting the monthlies.
Needless to say, it was worth the wait.
Considering his pedigree, any series with Vaughn’s name attached to it was going to be well received critically. His previous series for DC’s Vertigo imprint, “Y: the Last Man,” won a well deserved Eisner award for its tight, original storytelling and complex characters.
Much like his previous effort, Vaughn wastes no time establishing a world that practically jumps off the page with detail and nuance. The series is set up like a classic space opera, featuring a war between two races that has spread throughout an entire galaxy. Our two protagonists, Marko and his new wife Alana, are soldiers from opposites sides of the war who have defected and seek to escape the battlefield to raise their newborn daughter, Hazel.
Needless to say, their superiors (on both sides) view their union and offspring as a disgrace, and the couple finds themselves being hunted down by former allies and freelance mercenaries. The most notable of the latter being The Will and the arachnid type creature known as The Stalk.
Right from the onset, Vaughn (with the help of Staple’s stunning artwork) drops us right in the middle of this world, but it is never disorienting for the reader. That is an aspect that, in less capable hands, could spell doom for an ongoing series, but here the balance is executed beautifully.
And I personally feel that it works so well because, at its heart, this story is about one family against the world(s). All Marko and Alana want is what anyone wants: a small corner of the galaxy to themselves where they can raise their child in peace. Ideas such as this are essential in such sweeping, epic stories because it provides a solid foundation that gives everything else meaning.
In comparison, the majority of the titles being published by DC and Marvel at the moment have lost sight of that one simple rule. It doesn’t matter how many explosions or fight scenes you put in a story; no one will care unless they care about the characters involved. I will always love the characters and mythologies of DC/Marvel, but as of now, they are just too hollow.
This trade collects the first six issues, and the creative team has gone on a short break to give readers the chance to catch up. With #7 coming out next month, I may break my own rule and start buying this title on a monthly basis.
I recommend that you all do the same.