sa·ga noun ˈsä-gə also ˈsa-: a long and complicated series of events.
To define Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples' comic Saga as anything less than the literal definition of the word would be a mistake. Saga is a compelling love story that happens to coincide with a series of complicated events that just happen get intricately more complicated with every issue, but never in a bad way; it’s just a natural progression of a (the) Saga.
15 issues in and Saga shows no signs of slowing down or ending anytime soon, but if you’ve kept up with Brian Vaughan’s past work, I would bet we only have about 50 issues left until this series ends, which is still years of hard work and amazing stories to come. That being said, even though the story is in its early stages, throughout the narrative, which from the beginning, has been told from the point of view of the baby of our two main characters, Hazel, the story is still unfolding. The characters are still on the run from enemies and bounty hunters alike throughout this eclectic and expansive universe rife with treacherous war. And this is something I want to point out: narration from Hazel has been giving subtle hints of how this story will end. Vaughan has laid a large portion of the future of these characters and story out in this way. If you’ve paid attention to these details of the 3rd person narrative, Hazel has stated many times that at least one or possibly both of her parents aren’t alive by the time this story nears its end from her current future.
The past few issues of this arc have centered on a game of galactic cat and mouse between The Will, Gwendolyn, Marko, Lana and family. The Will has been stranded on a planet seeing visions of his dead lover, The Stalk, a fearsome bounty hunter in both looks and skills. Saga being an adult oriented comic, I have often thought…how the hell does The Will have sex with a giant spider lady with no arms?? It must be quite terrifying to say the least. Anyways, The Stalk has been haunting and messing with The Will. He seems to be the only person going crazy on this planet they have crashed on, and Gwendolyn doubts his sanity as well, that is, until the revelation that all or at least some of the vegetation on the planet is severely hallucinogenic. The Will is only seeing The Stalk tell him to do all these things because he’s tripping balls on an alien planet and I thought it was a great plot device to have these characters deal with.
And don’t worry, that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems and betrayals that the hallucinogenic food begins to create. The cliffhanger for this issue is a big one, and for spoilerphobes I will not mention it in this review. But it does make you wonder if Vaughan will take the chance to go forward with what he seemingly led us to believe, or if it’s the comic book equivalent of getting the reader to the next issue without the consequence ever actually being as bad as it seemed in the end. I, for one, as much as I would hate for this event that transpired to be actualized, would be entirely okay with it at the same time, because a comic this good should go for the things that will make fans and readers freak out and scream NOOOO at the issue and be completely suspended in disbelief with what they just read and saw.
As much as Vaughan is responsible for being the writer and creator of Saga, I think its extremely important to point out how much Fiona Staples is integral to telling the story just as much if not more than Vaughan. And I don’t mean that by how she draws Saga, because that is irrelevant to me. I had this contemplative thought the other night while digesting the few back issues I had to catch up on before writing this review, and it was profoundly apparent that this comic would not be as good without Staples, and while I cant remember the whole thought I had because I didn’t write it out when I thought of it, the reader will get some half thought out version that hopefully still drives home the basic point I was trying to get at about how she feels like she’s writing this book too.
Staples has a command over the script she is given from Vaughan that permeates every panel. There is never an instance where something is vague or not thought out with meticulous execution in this comic. The reason it feels like she is telling the story as much as Vaughan is because of the way she seemingly crafts each character and panel with everything standing out, no matter how seemingly unimportant a panel might be portrayed. While I don’t think Staples style is anything groundbreaking or amazing in terms of style, I do think her style fits the whimsical yet insane story of Saga itself perfectly, and I couldn’t imagine anyone else drawing this book would do it justice like she does.
We're another issue closer to making a series of complicated events even more complicated yet exciting!