Robot 6

Chain Reactions | Saga #1

Saga #1

This week saw the return of Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Runaways, Lost) to comics, as he and artist Fiona Staples (North 40, Mystery Society, Done to Death) team up on Saga. Announced at the San Diego Comic-Con last year, it’s been one of the most anticipated comics coming out this year for many fans. But how does it measure up to the anticipation? Fairly well, based on the reviews. Here are a few of them:

Jason Clyma, Broken Frontier: “Saga marks the highly anticipated and long awaited return of Brian K. Vaughan to the world of comics; a return that is sure to have set expectations at an astronomically high level. Not only does the creator of amazing works such as Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina surpass these expectations, but his space-opera shatters all fears and doubts. Despite being only one installment in, Saga is written with such painstakingly organized detail, with a scope sure to be larger than the size of a whole galaxy, and with such memorable and likeable characters that it is destined to rival the most beloved science fiction universes.”

Grant McLaughlin, The Weekly Crisis: “Simply put, this is great comics. Vaughan’s razor-sharp character work (and wit!) is on full display throughout as he slowly introduces us to a varied cast of characters, including our lovable (and deeply in love) leads, Alana and Marko. As mentioned above, in true Romeo and Juliet fashion, one is from the Landfall forces while the other fought for the Wreath. And of course, their love made them want to leave the awful horrors of war behind and start life anew. But like any good story, the war isn’t terribly accommodating and won’t let them get out so easily.”

Martin Gray, Too Dangerous for a Girl: “Vaughan brings a script with plenty of colours, nicely paced in its blend of action and character moments. He’s matched in craft and style by Fiona Staples, providing full artwork. Every character and setting has a distinctive look and the storytelling is superb; the layouts aren’t showy, there are no unnecessary splashes, just page after page of artwork that invites us into the narrative and keeps us there. I particularly like the way Staples translates the beats of Vaughan’s script onto the page. And her colouring is very effective, never alien-wacky, ‘just’ moodily appropriate.”

Greg McElhatton, Comic Book Resources: One thing I found myself quickly appreciating is that Vaughan isn’t playing a ‘good side/bad side’ game here. Neither race comes across as heroes or villains here; they’re both clearly seeing themselves as the good ones of course, but both sides make choices that put them in the “to be feared” camp. Vaughan’s introductions of hunters from the two sides’ armies to hunt down our protagonists also promises to be interesting and not just because Alana’s people are more science-fiction while Marko’s are more fantasy. It’s giving us an additional viewpoint character for each side of the war, one that still believes in the war itself and the fight to wipe out the other race. I’ll be curious to see how well they’re integrated into the overall story, and what happens once their paths finally collide with our heroes.

Alex Evans, Weekly Comic Book Review: “Overall, I enjoyed Fiona Staples’ work here. Her colors are brilliantly chosen with an animator’s eye. Also, her designs are out of this world and are absolutely key in making the world of Saga as unique and fully realized as it is. Truly, they leap off of the page. I also loved the lushly painted backgrounds she uses throughout the book. I did, at times, feel that her illustrations of the characters could be a little rough or sketchy, but much as was the case with the first issue of Morning Glories, I won’t be surprised that that had something to do with this being a double-sized first issue.”

John Lees, ComixTribe: “Saga #1 gives us a gripping narrative, and it looks absolutely stunning. What more do you want from a comic? Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples have delivered a triumph. When the sales for this month come in, it probably won’t topple the old favourites like Justice League or Batman or even this week’s Avengers Assemble, but it should. Saga #1 deserves to be the biggest book of the month, it deserves the biggest audience it can get. It may be a bit late to say this now, as here in Glasgow at least it’s already entirely sold out, but if you’re a comic fan, even if you’re a casual ‘I just read trades’ fan, you owe it to yourself to pick up this book. Believe the hype.”



Maybe I’m just hard to please, but I felt a little “meh” after reading this.

My biggest complaint is that we don’t actually learn anything about who these characters are, or how they fell in love. I assume that we’ll get some backstory as the story progresses, but for now, they strike me as cardboard cut-outs standing in for “star-crossed lovers”. I didn’t even get any feeling of honest love from the two characters, quite frankly. The writer seemed more interested in portraying them as hipster wise-asses than as actual lovers. I came away with absolutely zero idea of how or why they fell in love with each other, other than the obvious contrivance that was required to set the story in motion.

The whole “two races at war” thing never rose above the level of run-of-the-mill sci-fi cliches that we’ve read a hundred times. Again, I realize that this is only the first issue, but if I were a non-comics reader, presented with this story, I’m not sure how committed I would be to picking it up again next month. It just seemed too light.

Simon DelMonte

March 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Surprised and a little annoyed that no one mentions how adult this book is. I am not a fan of R-rated comics, movies or TV shows. And this is R-rated. That sex scene stated loudly that I am not the audience for the book.

Beyond which, I just didn’t like it that much. It shows promise but it was all over the place, and I really didn’t like the female lead.

I haven’t bought a full-priced comic book in awhile, instead choosing discounted back-issues, but the Saga preview absolutely pulled me in. Wonderful book, beautiful characters, and my first daughter was born shortly after I purchased the book!

It’s so great to see BKV writing comics again, welcome back!

@Simon–take your copy out again. Turn it around and look at the barcode. What does it say? That’s right…”M.” I wonder what “M” stands for? Maybe “Mature?”

A bit snarky I know…but come on….

@Simon- Why is the sex disturbing, but the violence that happens in every last comic book on the stand gets, no mention? Strange priorities… How come Jeebus hates sex so much?

Had huge expectations coming into this book but not only did it meet it exceeded them. This book is a prime example of why I love both BKV & Staples so much. Comics NEEDS BKV and I can’t say that about too many creators.

yes that’s all well and good, but is the plot as moronic as y:the last man?

So far, the plot is far less interesting and far more “by the numbers” than Y The Last Man. Very run-of-the-mill sci-fi stuff, IMO.

because I still haven’t got an official apology from Vaughan for grossly insulting my intelligence. (magic virus kills all male organisms in the same second, so writer can mass produce catchy one-liners, gender quips, and cliff-hangers)

Loved the sex. I wouldn’t say this was ‘meh’, I would say the majority of comics in general is ‘pffffff’, which elevates this to ‘hmmm?’

Interesting, might be worth following. Love the main characters, the ram’s horns and wings.

One of the best comics on the shelves right now, which has to be a working definition of ‘being damned by faint praise’.

I’m not as disturbed by the sex scene or the violence and I am by the breastfeeding portrayed on the cover! Kidding…

@mckracken–have you ever heard of “suspension of disbelief?” It is integral to enjoying just about any book, comic, and film.

Simon DelMonte

March 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I never look at the barcode. I would have noticed, though, the word Mature on the cover. Is it standard practice by Image to place Mature on the back?

I didn’t like it at all. The sum of the whole did not equal it’s parts. For example, a war is being fought between the race on the moon and the race on the it’s planet, right? Yes, except the respective races aren’t fighting it on either place. It’s being fought on other worlds and now other races are involved. I don’t buy it. If two countries a stone’s throw away can launch missiles at each other on our rock, why would ‘t these two races fight it on one of their own? Because it’s a bad storytelling device. Again, the book is a collection of bad storytelling devices thrown together.

Furthermore, did all the sampled reviewers give such praise as the ones mentioned here?

@Zach, while agree with your assessment that this issue certainly seems like less than the sum of its parts, it’s a little early to start picking apart the minute details of the war about which we know virtually nothing. I seem to recall that England and Germany fought one or two battles in Africa during WWII even though the two countries in question were a lot closer, just to pick the first example that sprung into my head.

@ Marc C

Yeah, but that was a pretty cheap and easy out.

I liked the sex better than the violence. As a rule, two…uh…”people” engaged in consentual sex is way more interesting than two “people” (or whatever these creatures are) engaged in consentual violence.

I also very much enjoyed the cankerousness of the female protagonist. I’m usually glad to see a female character (especially a protagonist) who isn’t sugar spice and all of that garbage.

All in all though: it was a comic book.

Add another positive review to the list…–sagas-a-gas

It bums me out that this feature goes up on Sundays when our site’s weekly comics column goes up Monday morning, but them’s the breaks, I guess. Thanks for collating them, though…I haven’t been able to pick the book up yet, but I’m looking forward to it even more now.

P.S.: Zach, please look up some modern history books to learn more about proxy warfare. That sounds condescending as fuck and I apologize for that. But…you don’t know what you’re talking about, sir.

@mr pants (great name by the way), day way out–I used my expensive graduate school education to read. Want to know why governments think they can create a Nanny-state–this is it. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? This is like parents blaming video game makers for violent material making it to children’s eyes. Industry puts ratings on it and parents still complain–maybe they want the government to parent everyone? Furthermore, why not open the book at the store and flip through it? Don’t like what you see, don’t buy it.

As for Image or other companies putting the barcode/rating on the back–I suppose they do this to preserve the gorgeous cover art. Again, with personal responsibility I will ask this question: how many Image titles are not rated M? My experience of Image in recent year is you should assume it is “M.”

Sorry about the first part of the prev post…auto correction has changed “whatever” into “day way out”

It does state in the comic that if the moon or planet were destroyed in the fighting that it would send the other moon/planet out of orbit. So I assume that both races have the capability to destroy a planet, and both sides don’t want to use that capability on their home planets…so they fight on the colony planets. It’s a simple way to explain something away. Accept it and move on. It’s a comic. A comic I enjoyed.

@Ayo- this may be too late for your reply, but if I understand proxy wars correctly (you’ll let me know), at least one side of the conflict has a vested interest in the conflict. You’re telling me that all these other planets would allow these two races to bring their conflict to their respective planets? See, we’re just supposed to take for granted the knowledge of what a proxy war is and apply that reasoning to the story WITHOUT being given any reasons. I mentioned this particular plot device as an example of the things we’re supposed to take for granted to tell the story.

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