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Saga vol 1 s/c back

Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples


Page 45 Review by Stephen


The very pinnacle of contemporary comics excellence, I cannot think of another series which so deftly and adroitly addresses almost every aspect of our highly individualistic lives that it is either all-genres or non-genre but, in either event, beloved by all. Yet I proudly post SAGA under science fiction for it fully celebrates the irrefutable truth that if space is infinite, then so are the permutations of its diverse denizens. This is effortlessly all-inclusive, and joyously so!

It’s narrated by Alana and Marko’s daughter who is no more than seconds old as our saga starts:

“My name is Hazel. I started out as an idea, but I ended up something more.
“Not much more, to be honest. It’s not like I grew up to become some great war hero or any sort of all-important saviour... but thanks to these two, at least I get to grow old.
“Not everybody does.”

Please don’t grow too attached to anyone herein. You will, but I just warned you not to.

Ridiculously witty, SAGA is delightfully mischievous and deliciously iconoclastic. You won’t want to leave it anywhere near a grandparent or god-child because there’s one scene in each of its volumes which you can firmly file under “every aspect” / sex. I’ve never seen a dragon doing that to itself.

Alana and Marko are in love. She's from the planet Landfall; he's from its moon. Unfortunately their peoples have been at war for as long as anyone can remember, but because one’s a planet and the other’s its moon, both parties swiftly realised that either world's destruction would cause the other to spin out of orbit: such an assault would be suicidal. So what they've very kindly done is taken their war to other people's planets. Which is nice.

Sent to the frontlines for the very first time, Marko was appalled by what he saw, and surrendered himself to the enemy. Alana was his jailor; she freed him. Each, therefore, is now on the run from very their own species for treachery, desertion… and blasphemy. For, worst of all, they've improbably yet successfully produced a beautiful baby girl called Hazel. This unholy union is despised by all sides and, for morale's sake (to ensure no one else gets the wretched idea that love might be better than blind hatred) all traces of it must be eradicated.

Alana's people have dispatched Prince Robot IV from a race of upright, uptight, walking, talking, fornicating television sets. Their screens betray their innermost thoughts because eyes are the window to the soul. Some of what’s shown is decidedly post-watershed.

Marko's people, on the other hand, have dispatched The Will, a phenomenal assassin with a Lying Cat. That’s a bright-turquoise, panther-sized cat with Tourette’s Syndrome, compelled to declare if you’re lying. Problematically, it holds no loyalties, so please don’t take yours to a poker game. Lying Cat is essentially an empath, and such is Staples’ finesse that you can read its exquisite expressions as a silent but salient commentary. Plus, thanks to Vaughan’s lateral thinking, there’s such an arrestingly kind iteration of the Lying Cat joke that it’ll have you choking back tears.

Alana and Marko soon find sanctuary in a semi-sentient, space-faring tree along with an impromptu babysitter from what's left of Cleave's indigenous population. She's a floating, glowing, pink ghost of a girl trailing entrails because her lower half’s missing following an encounter with a landmine.

Each volume, Hazel grows a year or two older. The cast expands, and the cast... contracts.

Meanwhile, Alana and Marko do what all couples do: they kiss, they copulate, they tease and fall out.

“Don’t! Don’t you ever say those words to me! Sorry, But ‘We have a family to think about now’ is the rallying cry of losers. My old man threw his life away working a job he hated so he could ‘take care of his family’. In the end, it just turned him into a monster who treated us like crap the few times he was actually around.”
“So what is that you want, Alana?”
“I want to show our girl the universe.”

Prepare to be dazzled, delighted and emotionally traumatized.