REVIEW: Saga #8
Or – “Holiday Week Means I Get The Pick Of The Litter…”
Every week, when new comics ship, I leap forth to choose those that I’d like to review. Some are easy (nobody ever wants to cover ‘The Amazing Adventures Of Turnip-Man,’ so that one’s always mine) but good luck getting the jump on a review of an issue of Atomic Robo, Invincible or Amazing Spider-Man around these parts. Though I’m surprised to find Saga unclaimed in this week’s comic haul, I’m not complaining, as every issue of this book so far has been utterly brilliant. Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Previously, in Saga: Marco hails from the planet Wreath, from a society where mystical powers are the norm. Alana comes from Landfall, a technological mecca. Their people have been at war for ages, and both Marco and Alana served in their respective militaries before he was captured and she was busted down to prison guard after a bad experience in battle. They eventually fell for one another, conceived a child and went on the run, eventually coming into possession of a wooden starship, an underage ghost and Marco’s angry wizard parents. But where will their cosmic flight take them?
AN INAUSPICIOUS MEETING.
Saga has a number of story-telling quirks (all of which are ridiculously successful in setting it apart from the other comics on the scene), the most fun of which is the narration by Marco & Alana’s infant daughter, Hazel. During the introduction of Izabella the ghostly nanny a few issues ago, Hazel’s voice-over actually served to trip us to the fact that the story wasn’t precisely as it seemed. The same thing happened at the end of issue #6, where she introduced her grandparents. This issue is all about characterization and interactions, something that Vaughan excels at, showing some of the backstory behind the romance novel that Alana left behind, the meeting of our lovely couple (she decks him with a rifle butt, since he’s acting up in her prison) and Marco’s parents coming to terms with their son’s decision to marry a woman from Landfall. Alana even gets some time to bond with Marco’s father while her man and his mother face down with one of the most horrifyingly naked trolls you’ll ever wish you never met.
AN ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT…
Fiona Staples’ art on this series is just flat-out perfect. I could explain the whys and wherefores, but you really need to see it to believe it. From the interiors of the living ship to the strange planet with the sudden secret the horrifying sight of giant troll testes, every panel is just gorgeous to behold. Not the least of which is the long-awaited reveal on the final page, a moment that left me both smiling and apprehensive about the future of Hazel’s little nuclear family. Vaughan has indicated that this started out as something set in the Star Wars expanded universe, and there’s still an indicator of this in parts of the story. Most impressive is how he balances the future-shock space setting with dialogue that is naturalistic and approachable, even as we deal with ghosts, outer-space battles and magical spinning wheels.
THE BOTTOM LINE: GO. BUY THIS. GET THE OTHER ISSUES, TOO.
It’s a rare story that manages to be completely unique and utterly familiar at the same time, but this (and frankly, EVERY) issue of Saga pulls off the trick. There’s even a perfectly rational explanation for a costume change in this issue that works wonderfully and helps to define two of the main characters. I am flat-out jealous of how effortless this comic book seems, and how excellent the reader experience has been so far. Saga #8 continues its hitting streak, earning a well-deserve 5 out of 5 stars overall. I might lose my fanboy card for saying this, but this is a series that might even be better than the Star Wars tales that helped to inspire it.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!