Thee Comic Column #3: Brian K. Vaughn’s latest Saga

I’ll tell you right off the bat that I’ve not read Y: The Last Man. I know, I know… I’m going to get to it. Around the time the first trade came out I bought it and dug it – I can’t say I was moved to run out and shake my ever-faithful comic book dealer Mike until he handed over the next monthly issue like I was when he forced me to read the first four trades of The Walking Dead – but I liked it nonetheless. However, at the time I was preparing to move 3000 miles away from home and a lot of sacrifices were made. Y was one of them. In fact, until very recently I’d not really read ANY Brian K. Vaughan other than what he did in the early oughts with Runaways. About six months ago however I remedied that by reading the entire run of Ex Machina trades in very short order and ABSOLUTELY LOVED THEM. West Wing meets modern super hero comics, and if that sounds like it most likely wouldn’t work you’re probably right – unless of course BKV is the guy writing it!!!

Anyway, a couple of months ago I was perusing my local comic shop (I have two – my very favorite and pretty much home away from home Amazing Fantasy in Tinley Park, IL, and my ‘local’ one in Manhattan Beach, the magnificent The Comic Bug), looking around for anything new I might have missed when I stumbled across Saga. It wasn’t just Vaughan’s name on the cover that moved me to pick it up and buy the first two issues blind, it was the art. I’m not usually one to fall for art – as strange as it sounds it has always been a very remote secondary element of the medium for me. But in this case, artist Fiona Staples’ strange, almost Paul Pope style combined with, honestly, a cornucopia-horned character on the cover and one with a tv for a head inside, I was very much reminded of the indie comics of the 80’s/early 90’s* and had to take a chance.

I was NOT disappointed.

Saga has been one of the strangest and most enjoyable books I’ve found in a while, and lately that’s saying something. The book is partially narrated in hindsight by the baby we see born to our two two main characters in the opening of the first book. They are from two different, warring intergalactic species and have pulled a Romeo & Juliet and fallen in love despite what their people tell them or the ramifications their union brings down upon their heads. What kind of ramifications? Weeeeelllll…

First the war is not contained to the planets of the two lovers – Alana and Marko for future reference – but has instead been “hired out” to many surrounding worlds. Alana’s home, the Landfall Coalition, have the support of the Robot Kingdom – those aforementioned tv set heads – who have one Prince Robot IV hot on the trail of the refugees. Marko hails from Alana’s planet’s moon, named Wreath, and her people have employeed severeal notorious bounty hunters in their efforts to capture their runaways. Among these hunters so far we’ve met The Stalk, a half-human woman, half-giant spider that Staples truly renders in a chilling fashion and The Will, a character that appears to be moving into a position, both strategically and morally, to play a very big part in the overall plot.

And then there’s possibly the most enigmatic and strange character in comics right now, Izabel. I can’t wait to see what happens with her.

 

These are the main players thus far in a story that already, six issues in, appears vast and complex but in a classically archetypal plot (think Star Wars) of love amidst war. Two lovers on the run amidst a politically ambiguous intergalactic war. Tv people. Anthropomorphic assassins, a forset that grows Rocketships and a sex club planet named Sextillion.

How couldn’t this be one of the most original and interesting comic book sagas out there?

Alright, next week I’ll be talking about Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus from Vertigo and just how AWESOME it is! Until then, pint o’ bitters and an order of chips please!!!

……………

* Lots of that going around.

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

2 Responses to Thee Comic Column #3: Brian K. Vaughn’s latest Saga
  1. [...] even more going on, and another immediate comparison is Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples Saga. Yes, wid... joup.co/thee-comic-column-39-east-of-west
  2. [...] - One of the first editions of Thee Comic Column was my very favorable review of this fantastic new m... joup.co/thee-comic-column-16-the-xmas-buying-guide

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