I love this series.
Oh, how I love this series.
My boyfriend’s best friend recommended this comic book to us a few months ago, gifting us with his copies of the first three volumes. I have never read comic books, and I’m not fond of series, but after hearing these volumes routinely praised on Tumblr and BookTube, I caved.
I think it took me about two hours to get through all three volumes, to the detriment of my work and my already sleepless routine. I must’ve finished them around 2am or so, then stayed up an extra half hour gushing over the worlds that Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples created. I can’t get enough of these stories. Where have comic books been all my life?
Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples have developed an incredibly empowering, engrossing, and entertaining comic series. I’ve heard it compared to Star Wars and Game of Thrones, but I believe that it can stand alone as something truly unique.
We are introduced to the main characters, Alana and Marko, in the first few panels. Alana is giving birth to her daughter, who narrates the story in between action sequences (let me clarify that this series is not narrated by an infant, but by the couple’s daughter at an unknown point in the future). Right off the bat, we see that Alana and Marko come from different species, both with rough, complex backgrounds, a deep love for another, and a fierce desire to protect their family — albeit by different means.
I was struck by two things here: first, Vaughan and Staples have infused this series with more kick-ass female characters than I’ve ever seen in a single story. It’s amazing. Not only is Alana strong, passionate, and clever, but we are introduced to female assassins (Freelancers), a female ghost-turned-babysitter, a fearsome mother-in-law, a darling little girl, and so many other people. Personally, I would love for our society to get to a point where this kind of representation is normal, not a novelty. (Until then, you’ll find me reading and rereading this series.)
Second, Saga takes very current, divisive issues and sets them against a foreign background. Alana and Marko constantly butt heads over issues like wing-bleeding (circumcision), sacrificing their careers for family life, taking non-violent stances in a war-ridden world (or, in their case, worlds), etc. Not only does this series provide fascinating art and entertainment, but it incorporates insightful cultural commentary as well.
Another thing I love is Vaughan’s intricate character development. For instance, one of the most highly-regarded Freelancers, “The Will,” has a reputation as an incredibly brutal, merciless assassin. While he joins several others in the hunt for Alana and Marko, his path intersects with the woman he loves and with a young girl who has been trafficked by the more nefarious creatures in the galaxy. Through The Will’s story, among others, Vaughan does a great job of making unlikeable and immoral characters sympathetic, allowing us to fully recognize their moral attributes as well as their vicious tendencies.
It would be an understatement to say that I cannot wait for the next installment of this series. Please, dear writers, write me more complex, female-positive stories.
You can purchase a copy of Saga: Volume 1, Saga: Volume 2, and Saga: Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples at the Book Depository. Seattle Books is a proud affiliate of the Book Depository and has committed 100% of proceeds from book sales to blog giveaways and site maintenance. All thoughts expressed above are the blogger’s and are not endorsed or solicited by the Book Depository.