Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Saga #1

Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples

I came to this comic with some very high expectations, and am very happy to say that the first issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples's new series Saga exceeded every one of them.  To begin with, this book is 44 pages and only costs $3, which on its own is pretty awesome.

Saga is set in a huge, sprawling science fiction/fantasy galaxy, where two planets - Landfall and its moon Wreath have been at war for generations.  This is a proxy war that has spilled out across every known planet, and is deeply engrained in the cultures of the various races of that galaxy.  The people of Wreath are horned and use magic, while the people of Landfall have wings and are pretty technologically advanced.

When the book opens, we meet Alana and Marko, deserters from opposite sides who met and fell in love when Alana was assigned to guard Marko.  Their baby is born in the first couple of pages, and they are now on the run from their own people, looking for a way off the backwater planet they are on, with the hope that they can find somewhere to live safely and raise their daughter.

There are tons of antecedents to this series.  As I read it, I was reminded of various stories like Star Wars, Dune, Farscape, Finder, and the short-lived and forgotten Keith Giffen/Colleen Doran series Reign of the Zodiac.  Vaughan and Staples take the influences of all of these classics, and others, and move them to a new level of quality (okay, myabe not Finder, because it's just about perfect).

Vaughan is known for strong character work, and for giving key roles to women.  When Marko and Alana try to escape, I couldn't help but think of the dynamic between Yorick and Agent 355 in Y: The Last Man.

Fiona Staples has done an incredible job of constructing such a visually fascinating and complex world.  Various types of aliens and creatures abound, and there is a very unique visual aesthetic to the whole thing, with space helicopters, and TV-headed robots. 

Image Comics has been on fire lately, and I imagine that this series is going to be the jewel in their crown.  I can not praise this title enough - if you didn't get a copy this week, you need to go find one as quickly as possible.

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