So I found yet another passionate love in the graphic novel section of the hottest place I go every evening, (the library. duh.) I’m talking about the series Saga by Brian Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples. It’s a beautiful story, spectacularly mixing elements of classic scifi and something more akin to fantasy , and of course a couple of star crossed lovers.
I should perhaps mention that Saga and I met in ways slightly less traditional than my other intros to great graphic novel series. It all started when I went to C2E2 a couple weeks ago, (you recall me spazzing out about that, right?) and found this picture on my pass for the day. Pretty sweet, right? The image caught my eyes right away, but I just assumed it was a promotional of artwork first, a slight little joke breaking the image of the serious scifi future soldier/stormtrooper trope, with the book being a clever nod to all the comics and books at C2E2. How could such a cool picture actually be part of a real story?
Well, it turns out that image is a part of Volume 2 of Saga, and shows main character Alana reading her favorite book while on duty. I got unreasonably excited when I found out this stunning art was in fact part of a story, and that’s how I’m up to Volume 3 of Saga right now. Really, I should be done with that book by now, but I found out that there are only four books out currently, and I had one of those terrifying moments where I wasn’t ready to lose a series I wasn’t even done with. Now, instead of reading it before bed, I just quietly caress the book as it lays by my side in bed and I try not to cry myself to sleep.
So yeah, that’s my own personal gut reaction to the series there. Whats that? You want to hear more about the actual plot and the general merits of the work itself, not my tragically unstable emotions for good literature and fictional characters? Fine then, you big baby. Here we go.
So these two species, these winged humans that have a high grasp on technology and these horned satyr looking people that can use magic, are at war. two low level foot soldiers from the opposing sides, Alana and Marko, fall in love over their shared disillusionment with the war and the cycle of violence spurred on by the long standing rivalry between their people. They have a kid, a half breed of their two species, and go AWOL, making them targets for several dangerous bounty hunters. It’s an action packed, wildly imaginative story that ascends to that next level only great scfi can reach by pairing utterly human, recognizable emotional themes like difficult love, and disenchantment with patriotic political spin with utterly fantastic settings, characters and concepts.
I probably have a lady crush on Fiona Staples thanks to her beautiful work on these books. She perfectly captures not just the subtle humor of the story, but also the cross between the utterly fantastic and utterly average human feelings these stories toss together, like Alana chilling in her uniform on top of some sort of photon death cannon with a good book in that picture above. I feel like we’ll one day find out that Staples is a name that marks those who exchanged the curse of being named after office supplies. Really, it’s Fiona Staples, Clive Staples Lewis, (better known as just good ole C.S., of Narnia fame,) and that’s all I’ve seen so far, but I’m keeping an eye out for more. I’ve searched my feelings and know it to be true.
On the whole, I can’t recommend Saga enough. If scifi is even remotely your thing, drop everything and read it now. If not, this book might just enchant you anyhow. If your just looking for a good time, Saga definitely delivers on that front too, with exciting action sequences and plenty of wry humor and witty banter with a real story behind it. I found that excellent, precarious balance between utterly fantastic and fantastically real with this work, and I hope you will too.