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Review: Saga: Volume 1

I’ve gotten a request from an old friend of mine to review something other than superhero comics, and I’m going to take him up on that request because I would like to expand the reach of my blog. Unfortunately, the only non-superhero comic I’m reading these days is Saga by writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples. This is unfortunate because I would like to read more independent work, but it’s fortunate because Saga is probably the No. 1 most high-profile, independent, non-superhero comic on the stands today. A lot of comic book fans are reading Saga, and I think that makes it the perfect addition to my review cycle. I’ve decided to review the first six issues in one fell swoop – seeing as how they make up Volune 1 – and then pick up from here on out issue-by-issue.

Saga: Volume 1

Saga is a strange and heartfelt story about a young couple trying to raise their newborn daughter in the middle of a war. But it just so happens that it takes place in outer space and everybody is some kind of freaky alien. On top of that, it seems like Vaughn and Staples are trying to be as insanely weird as possible, sometimes sacrificing story for weirdness.

Comic rating: 4/5: Good.

There is no denying that Saga is, so far, a very well-written and well-drawn comic. Vaughn and Staples are two professionals at the top of their game, and that shows on every page. It’s the story and the progress that I find at least slightly lacking. After six issues, our two main characters, Alana and Marko, seem to be spinning their wheels as they bounce from one threat or danger to the next. Even though we’re told that they’re on the move, the setting still remains “vague alien wilderness”. They have fought off a new threat or evil menace in every single issue, and none of their opponents have stuck around long enough to make any kind of lasting impact.

It’s like Vaughn thinks we have no attention span and he must fill his book with as much new action as possible. The main characters are in a near constant state of panic from all this action. But I would prefer him to slow down and take time to smell the roses of this universe he is trying to build. As a result, I don’t feel as connected with this world and these characters as I would like to be. I’ve seen my fair share of weird alien worlds in fiction, but Vaughn’s is particularly strange, and yet he’s not giving us much of an opportunity to get to know everything he’s created.

That’s not to say Saga is too out of control. Underneath all of this action and weird excitement, Vaughn and Staples are creating something rather beautiful. I just wish they’d let that part shine more than the constant need for action.

Join me after the jump as I introduce you to the characters and run down the story so far.

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