By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Format: Softcover, 6 x 10, 160 pages, Full Color, $9.99
Reviewed by: Diamond BookShelf
The cover of the first issue of the comic book edition of Saga featured two human-looking aliens, a man with goat horns and a woman with green hair and wings, nursing an infant. If any image sums up Saga, it’s that: a wild outer-space tale full of stunning imagery that at its center is about very relatable, human characters.
Marko and Alana are star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of an intergalactic war who find themselves on the run after they not only fall in love and desert their respective sides, but successfully conceive a child – something not thought possible. Stranded on a hostile planet and on the run, the two try to outwit and outrun a number of pursuers – including a half-spider bounty hunter and a prince whose race has television screens for heads. Along the way they befriend the ghost of a teenage war victim, and put to the test Marko's vow of pacifism.
What grounds Saga and keeps it from being simply a display of crazy imagery is the emotional realism of the characters. Marko and Alana fight, flirt, get scared, and show valor in ways that ring true to two people trying to protect their new family. That attention to detail is given to even the supporting cast, so that each character feels fully formed upon introduction. Staples' art also shines on this series, with a fluid and expressive quality that breathes life into the characters and action, whether in a mad chase or just a quiet conversation.
Saga is definitely an Adult collection graphic novel. The book opens with a childbirth scene, quickly followed by Marko cutting the cord with all he has available – his teeth. While not prurient or explicit in its violence, Saga does cover many subjects and interactions in a very mature manner, but mature as in sophisticated. Clever and inventive, Saga is a must-read for fans of sci-fi, adventure, or strong character-driven drama.