The main concept of a machine the suppresses violent urges through an entire populace is interesting, but it is so secondary that you actually sometimes forget what that machine does. (synopsis from Goodreads)
Overall Impression: An amazing first volume to an, I’m assuming, amazing series.
Recommend For: Fantasy and sci-fi fans.
It’s a little overdue, but I have finally read the first volume of Saga. I then went out and bought the second volume the next day. I’ve been hearing amazing things about this series for some time now, and it definitely lived up to all of the hype. It’s an incredibly well-written story, with some amazing art to go with it.
The story is centered around Marko and Alana, two beings who shouldn’t love each other, but do. The volume opens with Alana giving birth to the their child in a scene that is both touching and a little uncomfortable (as child birth tends to be). The writing is done in a way that it is obvious to the reader how much these two care for one another. Their bickering comes from love, and carries no malice. It’s simply funny and relatable.
The art helps add to the realness of the this volume. Fiona Staples never shies away from images that may be considered taboo or graphic. She merely depicts life. The fact the breastfeeding is shown in such a natural way is great, considering how uncomfortable our society seems to be with this. It’s simply a thing that needs to be done. A baby’s gotta eat. It’s tender and practical, and the fact that it’s on the cover shows just open this series is about seemingly uncomfortable topics. It never tries to cover up or hide anything. It’s all there on the page.
Also, there are a lot of depictions of sex that get pretty graphic, at least by mainstream comic book standards, and it’s pretty great. It’s great to see a series that takes on these topics that are pretty controversial and uncomfortable for a lot of people and weaving it into the story in a natural way. Not a ton of attention is brought to it, which is how it should be. Breastfeeding and sex are natural parts of life, and that’s how they treated here.
The characters themselves are engaging. Marko is struggling with his desire to live in peace and putting the violence that has plagued his existence behind him. He just wants to protect his new family from the war the surrounds them, but society won’t let him. All the while, his attempts to keep Alana from giving in to violent tendencies. Violence is a force of habit in this universe, and for Alana. A habit that takes a lot of work to break.
Alana tends to be a little hotheaded at times, but her love for Marko is deep, and she will do anything to protect him and their daughter. She’s resourceful, tough, and doesn’t give up easily. I found myself drawn to her as a character. She’s mulit-layered, and full of surprises.
It hasn’t become totally clear as to why this universe in a state of war, but I don’t think that’s incredibly important at this stage. It’s a scenario that we are sadly familiar with, and even without all the details, we get the gist. I’m sure that more information about what caused this universe to spiral out of control will reveal itself in time.
Alana and Marko aren’t the only intriguing characters in this volume. Somehow, we are made to feel some sympathy for the freelance bounty hunters as they get sucked into situations that are completely beyond their control. Despite the fact that they have been sent out to kill Alana and Marko, you can’t help but feel for them a little. They are aren’t total monsters, which makes them fascinating to read.
I will be back soon to talk about the second volume, but I’m sure that it is going to be equally amazing. I highly suggest this series