I’ll admit I’m being a bit lenient when it comes to choosing Saga as my next 52 Pick-Up. However, it technically has a female narrator (nevermind the fact that she’s still an infant in the story). Plus, Saga is illustrated by a phenomenal female artist who has amazed us all with her outstanding artistic abilities.
Created and Written by Brian K. Vaughn
Art by Fiona Staples
Published by Image Comics
Saga is a crazy book. I don’t think there’s anyone out there that will dispute that. With characters that sport wings, horns, and televisions for heads (and don’t forget the alligator butler), it immediately strikes you as a book that might have come from a dream and/or acid trip. Robot sex. Alligator butlers. Gigantic battle turtles. Saga has a cast of characters that you have to see to believe.
However, despite the weirdness of it all, the series stays firmly grounded in reality. No matter how strange the exterior of a character is, that character is a fully fleshed out entity. It’s so easy to relate to the plight of Alana and Marko because they’re dealing with very human problems, albeit on a cosmically grand scale. The same goes for the Robot Prince, who deals with everything in a very human way. No “Ex-ter-min-ate!” or “I am C-3PO, human-cyborg relations” here.
I think I can say that Saga is a great book for women. Why? Because it has a great love story at its heart. Not saying that all women love bodice-ripping romances, but there’s something about a good sci-fi romance that makes my heart go pitter-patter. Marko and Alana are a couple straight from the Han and Leia mold; two opposing personalities drawn together by passion and circumstance… *girly sigh*
That’s not where the Star Wars parallels end. Saga is an epic “space opera” very much influenced by Star Wars. The basic premise is spun slightly: two warring races, one living on a planet, the other on the moon. Knowing that the fighting would eventually ruin the planet and moon, they outsource their battlefields to other planets. Not too far from Star Wars, really, if you think about it. How much fighting actually happens on Coruscant? Not much. Other planets, ones with no real stake in the Empire/Rebellion battle, are the ones that get to clean up the bodies. Hoth, Endor’s moon, and Yavin IV all play the same part as Cleave, Saga’s battleground of choice.
Just as impressive as Brian K. Vaughn’s writing is Fiona Staples’ drool-worthy artwork. As much as I have been trying to critique artwork more, I just find her art almost indescribably beautiful. There’s absolutely nothing bad I can say about it. It’s strong, yet delicate. The coloring pops off the page, but isn’t overly bright or distracting. Read Saga on a Kindle Fire, and the artwork is even more astonishing.
More than anything, I just have to say that the cover is even more spectacular when you take it in the context of the rest of the book. It was the whole controversy over the cover that made me interested in buying Saga in the first place. Reading the love story, the narration from Hazel, and then looking back at that cover makes you realize just how perfect it is. A family unable to be torn apart by the ravages of war.
In short, I recommend Saga to everyone. Usually I say, “this and this person would like this book,” but, dammit, everyone will like this book unless they absolutely hate good stories and artwork.
P.S. The line to sign the “Never let Michael Bay anywhere near Saga” petition starts here.