Title: Saga volumes 1-3
Author: Brian Vaughan (Writer) & Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
Publisher: Image Comics
Length: ~160 pages each
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: the Internet
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.
From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.
Alana and Marko are star-crossed lovers from warring planets. They were successfully hiding out from their two species' military, when a man looking for a little extra money sold them out. This would have been just bad; however, Alana just gave birth to their daughter. As you can imagine, being on the run with an infant is a bit challenging.
For the last couple of months, I have been hearing lots of good things about Saga. Although everyone seemed to be in love with this series, I was hesitant to read it. I have read a handful of comics/graphic novels, but I had not read one that made me want to read more graphic novels ASAP. Saga was not like my previous comic/graphic novel experiences. Saga made me want to read every single praised comic out there. Seriously, I have been cruising every top 100 comic/graphic novel list I can find. Thanks to Saga I have checked out at least 50 comic trade paperbacks and have read almost half of them. I just can't get enough. Let's talk about why I love this series so much.
First, the characters are three-dimensional. Once I read issue #2, I felt connected to Alana and Marko. When they felt pain, I felt pain. When they were scared, I was scared. I attribute this instant connection to both the great writing and the illustrations. Staples lets the reader experience so much emotion through how the characters position themselves and relate to one another on the page. I also quickly found myself caring about the "villains" of the tale. In addition to following Alana and Marko, Saga follows some of the assassins who were hired to kill them. Although I don't want the assassins to kill Alana and Marko, I don't want them to get hurt either. The assassins are fascinating characters with their own strengths and flaws.
Second, the world building is fascinating. The world is strange and fantastical (e.g., there are half-human, half-robot creatures), but you can still relate to the characters. Prince Robot IV, for example, is a strange, strange looking creature; however, he fears for himself and his family in a very relate-able way. I also really appreciate the fact that Vaughan and Staples know when to hold back on the world building. They do an excellent job of showing, not telling, and only explaining enough to keep the story moving forward. There are times that I want to know more about Alana and Marko's cultures and about the robot folks, but it will not advance the story, so it is not mentioned. In a novel, I might be frustrated by this, but I don't feel that way with Saga. Vaughan and Staples really do strike the right balance.
I should note that this is an adult series. There are some fairly graphic sex scenes in this book. Most (if not all) happens in the "background," but it might be a bit shocking for someone. I felt a bit odd reading volume 3 in public, because there was at least once page that I felt that I needed to shield from children's eyes. Unless you do not feel comfortable seeing any sexual situations, I would encourage you to pick up this series. I don't want the sexy times to dissuade you from reading the series, but I also would be remiss if I didn't warn you.
Overall, I loved the first three volumes of this series so much. In fact, I now have Saga on my pull list at my friendly, local comic book shop. I can't wait until volume four comes out, I need to know what happens ASAP. I am now anxiously awaiting issue 20 that comes out in two weeks. If you are looking for a comic to try, I whole-heartedly recommend Saga. If you love romances or epic family sagas, you should read Saga. If you have a pulse, you should try Saga. Seriously. Go forth and read a graphic novel.
I give this series a 5 out of 5.