With 2013 only a few months away, it would appear hurried to already start declaring the best comics, movies or genres of the year. Yet throughout the year, there are certain novels, movies, television shows and dramas that shine out and make you wonder if they can be topped. In this respect, “Saga” enters the picture.
Written by Brian K. Vaughan (Ex Machina, Y the Last Man) and illustrated by Fiona Staples (DV8, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents), “Saga” is a comic book that is heavily themed on the space opera and science fiction tropes of notable films like “Star Wars” and novels like “Lord of the Rings.” This monthly comic book, published by Image Comics, is a tale of two lovers from differing extraterrestrial races, who are attempting to escape a war torn planet with their newborn.
And as the story opens and unfolds for the reader, Vaughan lays bare a romantic tale of two lovers, Alana and Marko, who are pressured by the same forces one would see in classic romance tales such as “Romeo and Juliet,” where each one of their respective races and home worlds are fighting an apparent never ending battle due to ancient conflicts and beliefs.
From the outside looking in, “Saga” can appear like a story that can easily become convoluted with its various moving components, yet Brian K.Vaughan crafts a narrative that gives the story a certain amount of humor, appeal and realism that makes it easy to latch onto each character and plot twist. And even as the story begins to get into the nitty-gritty details of describing the differences and ideological underpinnings of the Coalition of Landfall (Alana’s home world) and the Wreath (Marko’s small terrestrial planet), “Saga” infuses enough action and character driven instances to make the oftentimes complex story move along quite easily.
With the basic premise of the story laid bare, now is the time to answer the original opening question. Though the New Year is nearing, and many folks are still preparing for the impending holiday season, can Saga be given the nod as the best sci-fi comic of 2012?
Well, if you’re looking for a book with capes and damsels in distress, this is not your comic book. Though Vaughan went to the skies in “Ex Machina” and traveled across the nation on a search for a cure to save humanity in “Y the Last Man,” Saga is a tale primarily centered on the romantic and quite humorous due, Alana and Marko, with most of the dialogue coming from Hazel – Alana and Marko’s infant child. So if you’re expecting a hero to plunge out of the air to save the day, you might as well pass by this book without a glance.
For fans of sci-fi and fantasy, who take a liking to tales both new and exotic, this book is pure gold. Centered on the magic wielding natives of Wreath and the technologically advanced, winged inhabitants of the Coalition of Landfall, “Saga” unravels an entirely new universe of intergalactic political conflict, wild and exotic bounty hunters, and worlds that would only be accessible to the most creative minds. And of course, with Vaughan behind the pen, this story has a down to earth appeal that makes the detailed and colorful world drawn by Fiona Staples all the more real.
Yet behind the wild brush strokes that can at times create a brothel planet or eerie alien ghouls, one of the largest; all encompassing, sci-fi characteristics of “Saga” is the political and social conflict occurring across the story, with much of the narrative revolving around people trying to adapt and survive in a world where the Wreath/Coalition conflict is ripping across multiple planets. And from “Star Wars” to “Battlestar Galactica,” this theme of inter-species, cross-world conflict seems to run deep in the narrative of modern sci-fi and fantasy. To this respect, “Saga” does a splendid job of weaving this common trope with plenty of action and interesting twists that make each individual book a pleasure to read.
Now if you’re sitting back, wondering how a little known book by Brian K. Vaughan can garnish such acclaim from those across the web and comic book industry, simply look at the numbers. Scheduled to be released on March 12, 2012, “Saga” was sold out before it even hit the shelves according to Comic Bulletin. And there was so much demand for the first issue; Image Comics had to release a reprint, which also sold out, on the same April 11th order date as the second issue (Digital Spy).
Of course the only people who can decide and make the verdict on the strength and prowess of “Saga” are those who have read it. So next time you head to book store or comic book shop, scoop up this epic space opera. Read it, re-read it, and then decide if this story is the best sci-fi or fantasy book on the shelves in 2012.
If you’re like most folks, this book should shine bright over many others.
“Image Comics.” Image Comics. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <www.imagecomics.com/comics/4620/Saga-1>.
“‘Saga’ #1 Sells Out, Goes to Reprint.” Digital Spy. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <www.digitalspy.com/comics/news/a371030/saga-1-sells-out-goes-to-r….