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May 5, 2014 / Jett

Saga Vol. 1 Review

Saga is the latest brainchild from Lost and Y the Last Man writer Brian K. Vaughan. Set well into the future, it chronicles the trials and tribulations of soldiers from rival factions that have fallen in love with each other. What Vol. 1 may lack in originality, it makes up for by executing on its vision really well to tell an entertaining and mature sci-fi soap opera.

Driving the story are Saga‘s two main characters: Alana and Marko. She’s from the planet Landfall, a technologically-advanced place where the indigenous population are human-like, save for a small pair of wings that protrude from their backs. Marko is from Wreath; Landfall’s moon. His people are the equivalent of Natives, as they fight with more traditional weapons. They too have a unique physical characteristic, as his people grow ram-like horns.

This battle between rival nations has dragged many other galaxies into the mix, including the planet Cleave, where these two lovebirds meet. When we first meet the pair, Alana’s giving birth to their child, which sort of makes things harder to keep secret. Shortly thereafter, both of their respective sides want them dead and their newborn in their possession.

At this point, their take on love in the face of racial and political adversity isn’t breaking any new ground yet. There are other places where it’s clear to see the influences from other places have manifested themselves here. For instance, it’s obvious that a bounty hunter by the name of The Will, who has a large cat as a pet, is clearly modeled after Han Solo. Thankfully, it makes up for it in many other ways that largely nullify any of my concerns with the setup.

I find Marko and Alana to be great individual characters that are even better together. Though they come from very different backgrounds and personalities, it’s easy to see how these two love each other and are willing to go to great lengths to protect that, which they’re constantly pressed to do. They may have love on their side, but this recently-married couple still have a lot to learn about each other as they try to raise a family in the face of war. Narrated by their daughter at some point in the future whose retelling this story in hindsight, it constantly makes the reader wonder where this tale is ultimately going to go.

Making things difficult for them are bounty hunters from both sides; most notably Prince Robot IV and The Will. These characters could have been written to be two-bit bad guys, but there’s enough context to make each of them interesting. Also, the two main assassin’s aren’t necessarily evil people, either. IV is put in a bad spot by the government to take them down. The other assassin is simply in it for the money, though he too is shown to have a sense of compassion during one particular scene in a brothel. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but trust me on this one.

The underlying themes of Saga Vol. 1 aren’t particularly new, but they’re told really well through excellent characters and a great plot filled with drama, action and touch of humour every now and then. Everything is also told through beautiful art drawn by Fiona Staples, which gives everything a distinctive look. By the time Vol. 1 ends, the story has set itself up to go just about anywhere, and I’ll gladly see that through after a positive first impression.

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