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Graphic Novel Review: Saga, Vol.1 – Brian K. Vaughn (writer), Fiona Staples (artist)

Saga, Volume 1: an instant classic in the creator-owned comic world for a reason!

I kept seeing Saga pop up as a recommended graphic novel for quite some time from friends and online forums, but didn’t give it a good look until I saw it marketed somewhere as Star Wars meets Game of Thrones. As a fan of both of those franchises, I finally picked up a used copy of Volume 1 at a local bookstore. The verdict? It’s really nothing like either Star Wars OR Game of Thrones, but holy space cows, does it stand on its own.

We open with a shot of one of our protagonists, the winged humanoid Alana, screaming in labor. Her husband, the ram-horned humanoid Marco, is nearby, patiently helping her give birth to their daughter, Hazel, who we quickly learn is the narrator of Saga–apparently telling her story from some unknown far-off time in the future.

This is not a comic for the pearl-clutching crowd: There is blood, there is violence, there is sex, and there is lots of colorful swearing. But this isn’t graphic just for shock value: Alana and Marco’s peoples are at war with each other, and, knowing they and baby Hazel will likely be captured and executed if found by either of their species’ armies, flee in an attempt to stay hidden until they can figure out some sort of plan. Their cautious tactics are prudent: both of their peoples quickly become aware of the forbidden union and things get messy, as war does, very quickly. This is Romeo and Juliet set against the backdrop of an intergalactic war, and doesn’t shy away from the gritty reality of that.

Volume 1 of Saga is one of the best volumes: partially because we meet most of the colorful, soon-to-be-fan-favorites cast here, but also because Vaughn and Staples weren’t sure if Saga would be popular or not, so the first six issues are set up to end the first arc fairly neatly. Thus I find that if you like the first volume, you’re likely to enjoy the rest of the series–Vaughn’s wry humor mixed in among serious discourse on the follies of war and tender moments of baby Hazel’s antics stays consistent, and Staple’s art just gets more and more gorgeous with each volume. I’ll review the other volumes separately, but if you read this first volume and think you want more? Go for it! It’s one of the most popular creator-owned comics right now for a reason.

Disclaimer: I bought the physical copy of Saga, Vol. 1 (trade paperback) myself for my own personal use and have read it to the point that I probably need a fresh copy soon. I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Title: Saga, Volume 1 (trade paperback edition)
Author: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Fiona Staples
Publication Date: 09 March 2022
Print Length: 188 pages
Marie’s Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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