Some people say that graphic novels aren't a legitimate form of great literature...I say that those people have clearly never read Saga!
The planet of Landfall is at war with the moon of Wreath, and the conflict has managed to engulf the entire galaxy, with combatants from multiple worlds choosing sides to fight on. In a time filled with hatred and violence, two soldiers from opposite sides manage to find love and solace in each other. After the birth of their infant daughter, Private First Class Alana of Landfall and Wreath foot soldier Marko seek to escape the war that has consumed their lives so that their daughter can grow up in peace. Branded as traitors by both sides of the conflict, now the two warring factions have found one thing they can both agree on...Alana and Marko must die!!!
Sounds like a really cool concept, right? But as anyone who has read the sublime "Y The Last Man" series already knows, for Brian K Vaughan, a great concept is only the beginning! Right from the opening sequence where the birth of an idea is used as a metaphor for childbirth, I knew I was reading something far more sophisticated than simply "Romeo & Juliet in space"! Vaughan manages to weave in so many other elements so seamlessly, the end result is a beautifully rich and complex mythology. One of my favorite parts of the story is Izabel, a sweet (although occasionally bratty) ghostly teenage girl who tries to help Alana and Marko in their quest for peace. Izabel's perkiness and humor manages to make her one of the most endearing characters in the book...despite her being only a disembodied torso!
Of, course, in order for a concept like this to work, the reader has to truly care about the protagonists. Fortunately, Vaughan executes that perfectly, by giving us two compelling characters who we not only want to learn more about, we NEED to know more about them! In some ways, tough Alana is a perfect foil for pacifist Marko. However, both characters exhibit such strength and benevolence that their quest for happiness is important not only to them, but to the audience as well. Through their personalities, compassion, and wit, Alana and Marko truly touch the hearts of anyone lucky enough to be reading about their exploits!
But, as this is vintage Vaughan work, not only the protagonists are compelling...even their pursuers are fascinating! The government of Landfall enlists regal Robot IV to track down the fugitives, and in typical Vaughan fashion, the robot often exhibits more humanity than the people he's working for. Another memorable antagonist is the bounty hunter known only as "The Stalk". Enhanced by Fiona Staples' immaculate artwork, The Stalk is one of the creepiest villains I've seen in a long time. But by far my favorite of the pursuers is the freelancer known as "The Will". Although he purports to only possess the ethics his clients pay him to have, The Will soon finds himself suffering a personal crisis where his own nobility shines through. Indeed, there are times that I actually found myself rooting FOR the villain, even though I'm well aware The Will's ultimate goal is the destruction of our heroes!
Honestly, I could gush on and on for hours about all the parts of the book I loved, but to reveal too much would be a disservice to anyone who hasn't read it yet. Many of the plot twists are better experienced firsthand. So, instead, I'll just leave you with the assurance that I can honestly say I enjoyed every single page of this graphic novel! A vast, sweeping epic tale, "Saga"
is very aptly named!