Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples
Lettering by Fonografiks
Published by Image Comics
Robot Rating: 10 out of 10
It's hard to not just revel in all the awesome that is Saga. As a contemporary sci-fi epic, it is truly set apart from anything else out there in tone and appearance. It's also like nothing else out there because it's not everyday, well these days, that Brian K. Vaughan puts something out. As it's being heralded as Vaughan's return to comics, there's already a certain level of hype to it and I'm here to tell you it lives up to any and all expectations.
Trying to explain the layered story without going on and on about it, can be summed up as simple as "Romeo and Juliet in space". But even that doesn't even scratch the surface of the drama, the intensity of war, and political intrigue that gives the book its story. We're introduced to all the plot points, but nothing ever gets complicated or too tangled that we can't comprehend. It's all presented to us in a manner that isn't weighed down and easy to dive into. Vaughan's talent of establishing an emotional connection between characters and reader is in full swing here as even in the first handful of pages, you're already wanting our protagonists, Alana and Marko, to make it through all the hell that they're facing. It reminds me of A New Hope where you're thrown in this huge setting, but you're already rooting for the good guys and feel for them. Even though Marko's horns and Alana's wings set them apart from humanity, their struggle is relatable and easy to grasp onto. Their dialog and scenes together are sharp and poignant. It's nothing we haven't seen before, but doesn't wander into meaningless banter. The very basics of the story itself could easily have been told in a more realistic setting, but the sci-fi environment adds a certain level of majesty to it.
Now with Vaughan's character development added to the beautiful vision that come from Fiona Staples, it's just jaw-dropping. The detail she gives the characters and their setting is inspiring on a Jim Steranko level. Everything has a sketchy feel to it, but not over-rendered and definitely has a Phil Noto-esque look in some of the composition, but definitely her own style and certainly left her impression here. I've been a fan of her work for years now and while her name was mentioned several times as a top talent missing from DC's relaunch, I would rather see her bring her talents here than to anything offered from the big two. You can see that her style has evolved to something nobody could have expected for it to go. Even her hand-lettering for certain bits of dialog adds that bit of Staples' vision of the characters matches seamlessly with the dialog, which in turn adds to the emotion of the story and gives us visual storytelling at its finest.
With 44 pages and no ads and $2.99 pricetag, it's more than a steal; it's almost a crime if you don't pick it up. 2012 is almost a quarter done, but I'm certain that Saga #1 has already established itself as one of the best comics to have come out thus far. I predict this will rocket Staples to the top of the art scene, and usher in new readers for those who haven't been introduced to Vaughan's work already.