Sunday, November 17, 2013

Feels like Star Wars, but it's nothing like it

I'm still reeling over Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples's Saga Volume 1. Really, it's the best graphic novel that I've read. Ever. And I thought that Vaughan topped himself with Y: The Last Man. I was wrong, but in a damn good way.

One of my favorite websites, io9, came up with a list of reasons why everyone should read Saga. They nailed it perfectly. The space operatic story, the nuanced characters, the exotic settings—everything worked beautifully. If you're not into graphic novels, Saga will win you over. It's that perfect example on how some stories can only be told in the graphic novel medium.

Saga is about star-crossed lovers. Alana, a soldier from the family Landfall, falls in love with Marko, a fighter from Landfall's only moon called Wreath. There's just one problem, a big one in fact: Landfall and Wreath have been at war with each other. The war has been going on for so long that they've now "outsourced" their fighting in other planets.

Of course, it doesn't help that the romance between Alana and Marko results in an offspring—a baby girl named Hazel who has Alana's wings and Marko's horns. Somehow, I felt that Vaughan alludes to angels and devils in characterizing the people of Landfall, who all have wings (reptilian and avian), and those of Wreath, who all have horns of different structures (some antler-, bull-, and deer-like). The Landfallen are experts at military weapons, so it seems, and the Wreath have the ability to do magic. So, yes, Saga effectively combines the tropes of science fiction and fantasy.

Then there are the other characters, which are just beautifully weird. Bounty hunters named The Will and The Stalk, both of which were hired by Wreath to kill Alana and Marko. The Stalk is actually half woman and half spider. Needless to say, she's scary as hell. And then there are the automatons, people with TV monitors for heads, who are allied with Landfall. If you think that's weird, wait until you get to the panels showing them having doggy-style sex or taking a dump. Then you've seen it all.

My favorite character would have to be The Will's companion, Lying Cat. It can tell whether a person is saying the truth or not. I wouldn't want it to be within 10 feet of me because, you know, lying . . . it's in my nature.

Don't you just love that face? Adorable.
I wonder what the toilet smells like.
Hazel is born.
The Stalk is so sexy.
Argh! How long will I have to wait for the series to finish? Volume 2 just came out this year, and I've already finished it. I can't get enough of Vaughan's gift of storytelling and Staples's talent for drawing. Saga is an edge-of-your-seat read, and it's my favorite read of the year so far.

Read this book if:
  1. You have the patience to wait for the next installment.
  2. You have a love-hate affair with Star Wars.
  3. You have a thing for star-crossed lovers.


Jack said...

Feels like Romeo & Juliet to me, but then what would I know? I just read R. A. Salvatore... So who's the Drider in the bottom panel???

Peter S. said...

Oh, right! It is like Romeo and Juliet, Jack, but they end up having a baby! :-)

And that's The Stalk, one of the freelance bounty hunters.