Friday, July 26, 2013

Vaughan and Staples Saga: Review

Though usually I don't read graphic novels, due to my weird inability to handle pictures and texts at the same time, a few years ago I got hooked on Y: The Last Man, Brian Vaughan's SF work about a world where every mammal with a Y-chromosome (including human males) dies, planet-wide, within a few moments, except for one man, Yorick Brown, and his monkey.

Now Vaughan is working with Fiona Staples on another graphic novel, Saga, which is shaping up to be even better than Y.

We're only two volumes into Saga -- the next issue is due in October -- so this can only be a preliminary review.  But I'm all thumbs up so far.

We've got an archetypal story: two kids from two cultures that have been at war for centuries who fall in love when one of them is guarding the other, who has been taken prisoner.

In my favorite bit, Alana, the guard, falls in love mostly because of a book she has been reading, which convinces her that the enemy is human too -- and that love is the best response to an enemy.

It's a trope about the power of literature to alter our worldview, to change our lives; it goes as far back as Chaucer (in Troilus and Criseyde, Criseyde is convinced by a song Antigone sings that love is a worthwhile enterprise); it is a major function of literature and art; and yet we don't often see it used in literature itself.

The characters too are excellent -- my favorite might be the Lying Cat, which is a giant cat, partner to a mercenary named The Will, who can tell when anyone is lying.  Lying Cat prowls around and says, when you are lying, "LYING."  If you aren't lying, Lying Cat just says, "Mpf."  In a kind of disgruntled way.

The Will is also great.

And our heroes, Marco and Alana, have a baby, from whose POV the story is being told -- and this baby has a ghost babysitter, a child who has been killed in the endless war.  Well.  Half a ghost.  Because she was blown up in a landmine.

When this ghost kid showed up was one of the first best plot twists in a novel which is (apparently) going to be filled with great plot twists.

And the art is also great.  The kid, who as you know does art, expostulated on it at length, explaining to me exactly what was great about it.  She says it was done digitally (I think that's what she said) and also something about the lines, which I can't remember.  But she's very impressed, I remember that.

In conclusion: I highly recommend, and can't wait for the next one.

Update: io9 on Saga.

1 comment:

Drew said...

Argh! Thanks a lot, Kelly--looking this up led me to even more books I want to buy. And I'm fracking broke.
Tish sad ;_; I want Saga and The Manhattan Projects (Hickman and Pitarra) now!
And weird. You seem like the type that would love comic books :)