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Chain Reactions | Saga #1

by  in Comic News Comment

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.”