OK, Saga. You won this round.
I really didn’t want to like this series, and it took me several tries to actually get into it. I first encountered Saga in the comic shop when the debut issue shipped. I made the mistake of turning to a particular page, which left me wondering “Why are these TV-headed people having doggiestyle sex?” Clearly, that wasn’t going to be the best introduction to this tale! I also decided that I didn’t like the art, so I walked away. Yet, the world continued to rave about how great of a book it was. A few weeks back, I found a reprint of that first issue for $1 at the VA Comicon, so I decided to give it another chance. I didn’t hate it as much as I’d expected, but it still didn’t do much for me. Still, the hype machine continued to laud the series with praises. A pal of mine told me not to judge it until I tried the first volume. Luckily, I got it on sale a few weeks back, and finally got a chance to read it over the weekend. Well, as much as I hate to admit it, he was right. The first volume was a much better sampling of the story, and I really enjoyed it.
Before we get into the whats and wherefores with Saga, let’s back up a little. Why was I expecting the worst? Well, it has something to do with writer Brian K. Vaughan. I’ve ranted about this to anyone who’ll listen, but it basically comes down to this: Vaughan is a great idea man, but he’s not a “closer”. The endings of his longform series have always left me disappointed. His major contribution to the Marvel Universe, Runaways, had a non-ending because new writers were coming aboard. Y: The Last Man switched gears about 2/3 of the way in, and became a story that was about the journey and not the destination. The ending of Ex Machina made me want to throw the book at a wall. The only Vaughan ending I ever enjoyed was the Marvel Knights Wolverine: Logan series – mainly because he only had three issues with which to work his story. Oh, and Pride of Baghdad was also good.
Going back to Y, that leads to something I dislike about Saga: because the story is told looking back from the perspective of the grown up baby, you know that the baby survives. I feel this takes some of the suspense out of the story, eliminating the “anything could happen” aspect. By using this vantage point, however, Vaughan is setting up from the beginning that this story is definitely about the journey rather than the destination. While I don’t tend to like those types of stories (because they tend to come at the cost of a satisfying ending), I’m more OK with it here since the story was set up that way from the beginning; there was no switching gears midway through the story.
So, what did I like about Saga? Well, the series is full of so many WTF?! moments that you can’t help but get engrossed. Why are the robots having sex? How are the robots getting pregnant? How is the topless, armless woman a spider?! Plus, there are enough crazy bounty hunters to give Cowboy Bebop a run for its money. What, at it’s core, is simply a story about two starcrossed lovers trying to protect their baby from threats from all corners of the galaxy, is enhanced by the rich world that Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples have created. This could have easily been “Romeo and Juliet with a baby”, but instead it’s so much more. Plus, how can you hate a book with a panel like this?
You got me, Saga. I wanted to hate you, but now I just wanna see what happens next. I’m trusting you here, so don’t let me down, Vaughan. I’m giving you one last chance, so please don’t let me down.
2 thoughts on “Adventures West Coast – Saga Vol 1”
I’m a fan too. This is one book that I trade wait on though, because as you said, it’s better digested in volumes than one issue at a time.
Maybe I need to try Saga from the beginning too. Like Will, I almost didn’t want to try it just because of the hype it was getting. So I decided to begin with that month’s issue (#13). It’s okay….that’s about all I can say about it. I have no idea what’s going on, but I get the gist (couple is trying to protect their baby, people are chasing after them).
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