Saga may seem to be the strangest science-fiction work you’ve ever read; which may make it seem deceptively complicated. But in reality, it’s actually incredibly simple and it’s this simplicity that makes it truly deserving of its place in your collection.
Two warring factions of aliens whose planets are symbiotically linked yet still search for ways to eradicate each other comprise the framework for the plight of two forbidden lovers who simply fight for their right together. Seems a very well-used premise, doesn’t it? Romeo and Juliet all the way, you’re probably thinking. However, what makes this premise different is that the lovers didn’t plan on falling in love until they discover that they share a similar absence in their lives that draws them together in search of what they both need.
It’s this difference in the basic ‘star-crossed lovers’ motif that makes the difference in this story. Instead of being formulaic and predictable, Saga fools you into thinking you know where this story is heading and then takes you in a completely different direction. If the rocket trees weren’t the first hint, then perhaps the television-headed robots would convince you that this is no mere space opera.
The other well-used motif in this book is the classic confrontation between magic and science. The two factions’ respective technologies are based on these two different ideas and they are well described and illustrated by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. Vaughn is a master of making sci-fi understandable and apparent in the most unexpected of places. You just need to read his Ex Machina to see science fiction reveal itself in the milieu of politics, a highly unlikely setting for a technological based superhero to reveal himself.
Staples has the ability to marry the mundane with the exotic. Concepts like a lonely lighthouse keeper who lives in isolation, working on his novel, seems like a perfectly normal idea. To her credit, Staples manages to draw and bring this concept to life; but then the idea changes when we see an added detail – that the keeper is a Cyclops – and convention is thrown to the wind. While Vaughn may conceive of this, it’s Staples who has the ability to present it.
The Saga Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 Hardcover, aka Saga: Book One (not to be confused with the paperback Saga, Vol. 1 released in 2012) is a soundly heavy volume. Containing the first eighteen issues of this amazingly enigmatic series, there are 504 pages of interstellar glory. With over forty pages of scripting, commentary and sketches, it is a real treasure to gain insight into the creative minds of these imaginative artists and to learn about their collaboration and their process.
This is a well-crafted and assembled book and will make an amazing collection addition. It is a different book that doesn’t alienate its reader by making what seems to be completely expected, unique and different in its own right. It’s priced right and gives you a story with extras that makes you satisfied and truly needs to be on your shelf.