So, this is a little embarrassing, and not in the usual way The Noob normally is.
Generally, I’m embarrassed by admitting to not ever seeing Batman ‘89 or Die Hard as 24-year-old man. Today is embarrassing because I was supposed to read Christopher Priest’s run of Black Panther in anticipation of the movie coming out later this week, but I read Saga for the first time instead.
Some context: in an attempt to get my girlfriend into comic books I bought her the first volume of Saga (written by Brian K. Vaughn and art by Fiona Staples), and she loved it. Since then I’ve been buying every volume for her as they come out, but I had never read them. Last week, as she read volume 8, she convinced me to start reading the series. I started reading it this weekend, and I am obsessed. I’ve only stopped reading it to write this down.
Right now, as I write this, it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it is pouring rain, and I haven’t eaten yet today. From about 8 o’clock this morning until just now, I have been reading Saga. It was a struggle to put it down for so many reasons.
It’s hard to know where to start when everything about this book is phenomenal. As anyone who has read a book written by Brian K. Vaughn knows, the writing is fun, witty, and, above all else, natural. Vaughn creates main characters, and even one-off characters, that readers care deeply about because they feel real. Then layer on Fiona Staples’s incredible and imaginative art, Saga throws you into a new universe without you really feel like you’ve left the real world.
And there is still much more that makes this book the standout it has been since its first issue, but what I think resonates with my generation is the perspective that Saga takes on war.
War is bloody, horrific, destructive, and ultimately futile with lasting effects of hatred and psychological effects on its combatants. Through the three storylines in Saga we see the causalities of the war between Wreath and Landfall, a war that seems to have no purpose whatsoever, where heroes and villains are a matter of perspective, and in a large universe that doesn’t care either way. In every one of these storylines, the war is the cause of all of their suffering.
Marko and Alana can’t be together in public because their races are the main opposing forces in the war and the history of violence is too thick for them to fight their way through. The Will is constantly dealing with the injustices that arise during a war as he searches for our main couple. Robot IV can’t go home to his pregnant wife until he captures our main couple.
I think my girlfriend summed it all up best, “I think it’s the combination of amazing art, multidimensional and emotional characters, funny dialogue, the well thought out and rich universe, and probably also the flavor of sex and conflict. But on top of everything, all the pieces fit together so harmoniously, and they tell a story that isn’t just interesting and captivating but moving and thought-provoking. There are a lot of political and psychosocial undertones and messages that make it feel more than just a fictional story.”
I’m going to go eat, but let me know in the comments below whether you’ve read Saga, and what you think about it!