COMIC REVIEW: Saga Issues 1 to 3

When I first heard that Brian K Vaughn (BKV) was returning to comics I was so excited. Y: The Last Man is one of my favourite series of all time to the extent that I would refer to it as comic book crack. Whenever a friend of mine who is not into comics asks me where to start I will ask them whether they want to read about superheroes or not. If they say no, I will say Y is the best place to start. It is that good in my opinion. So BKV already has a tough act to follow.

For me it is the equivalent to The Beatles making something after Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Saga has been described as Star Wars meets Game of Thrones. For me this automatically made it seem less appealing than Y as although I am a huge sci-fi fan, I am not a huge fantasy one.

On first read of Issue 1, I was not completely taken in. I thought the art was stunning by Fiona Staples but I felt that there was something missing from BKV and I assume it was the fantasy element that I disliked. Re-reading it I saw a completely different side to it. BKV has a brilliant twist on looking at life and managing to create what feels like realistic dialogue. This is how these characters are so vivid and feel so real. Stand out moment in the series so far are the opening scene of issue one which is haunting and hilarious as well as when The Horrors are disgusted with the way people ‘persecute’ them.

This continues on through the book showing that he has not missed a step. Each character has their own distinct voice that really adds depth to this book. This is something that is crucial when creating new characters instead of just working on old ones because it will help to build and audience and keep it. BKV is a master at this and in Saga he continues to show off his abilities, almost flouncing his flair for dialogue in front of the vast majority of other writers out there.

The clever lettering must be mentioned as it really adds something to the book. It makes it stand out, original in comparison to so many other books that are out there. Issue 1 ends in a way that will intrigue you to read on. BKV doesn’t manage to grasp the sheer intrigue and excitement that I had for Y: The Last Man but on second reading, the first issue works well and promises and interesting continuation of the story.

Issue 2 continues to build on the interest. BKV takes a clever tactic by seemingly killing off one of the three main characters here. It is becoming less of a shock as more and more creators are doing this (building a character up and then killing them early on) but the way that BKV does it still adds a lethal punch, making the reader feel sorry for the loss of the character. This again shows BKV’s ability as a writer as he has managed to construct a character that you will care about in less than two full issues. Credit must also go to Staples for providing some beautiful art.

The first page of issue 3 has a very eerie vibe to it. The colours of the forest and the characters themselves add something to the scene. Further the lettering really is quite chilling, both the style and where it is placed on the page.

The end of issue 3 is heartbreaking and exhilarating to read. You cannot believe that such a thing could happen and you truly feel sorrow for the characters involved.

If are not a big fan of fantasy and can put it to one side, Saga is a very enjoyable read. The horns and what have you might be slightly jarring but they soon just become part of the furniture in what is a tremendously exciting BKV universe. BKV has yet again created something that is unique and brilliant. It is not as readable as Y and at the moment it is unable to topple it but even by BKV himself that would be almost impossible to do. Saga’s greatest tool is the dialogue and how the creative team manage to instinctively create a set of characters that we relate to, understand and care for in a matter of pages.

Rating: 4/5
Reporter: Luke Halsall

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