Written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Fiona Staples
Published by Image Comics
Comics is such a hyped up, bull-shit drenched industry where every book that’s released is heralded as being the next big thing. Once in a very rare while the hype is justified.
There are two current books that I think, not just every comic fan, but every fan of interesting genre fiction should be reading. Saga is one of these (Locke & Key being the other). It’s one of those series that will join Sandman, Preacher, and Y-the last Man on the shelf of modern classics. And unlike those other worthy books, this is one comic that will not be turned into a TV show. Saga is a fucking comic book.
The depth of madcap ideas here could never be conveyed by a live-action movie or TV show and the adult nature of the content would stop it from ever being animated. But it’s not just what other mediums can’t do but more what this one can. And where else can you see the Will eviscerate goons with the help of Lying Cat?
Saga doesn’t use the visual narrative tricks of other current leading books like Hawkeye and Young Avengers, there are no neat panel-in-panel sequences or quirky logo overlays, instead we get what feels like a classic ‘comic’ style. The panel structure is clear, simple and wide. Each issue opens and closes on a splash page but they are also used to great effect throughout the book.
But I raved about the art last time, how about focusing on the lettering today? Fonografiks do a superb job. I always appreciate when different characters or races are given their own word balloon style. Here we have ghosts who talk in a pink font, spells are in blue and our new-born narrator talks to us in a handwritten scrawl.
Everything I said last time in my review applies, our new family are still on the run, The Will and Lying Cat are still after them despite distractions on Brothel planets and we ended the last book with the in-laws appearing and vaporizing the ghostly baby sitter.
Even though we get lots of flash backs here, and they are needed to fill us in on quite how these star-and-species crossed lovers got together, the story in the current day keeps developing at a rapid clip. It’s very easy (as was shown in the otherwise highly enjoyable Man of Steel flick recently) to suck the momentum out of your actual story by flashing back and cutting off its air.
At the end of the day Saga is all about character. Sure the ideas are cool, the settings and situations fascinating but it’s the characters that bring us back. As Alana, Marko and their family develop, and we explore this ever-growing universe jammed with crazy characters and concepts, BKV always keeps things grounded. With a deft twist of dialogue or setting(like meeting your in-laws for the first while only wearing a towel) it feels as real and human as any story I’ve read in any medium.
Should I buy it? Yes, books like this are the reason I read comics. Two creators at the height of their skills, on a book that they own, doing what ever the story needs without crossovers, movie tie-ins or editorially mandated guest stars
Next time: After a hell of a month moving my Fortress of Blogitude and not even having time to hit the comic shop it’s a mystery what I will write about next. Fear not, it will be awesome.