Graphic Novel Review: ‘Saga’ vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 1Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the art a bunch, and generally speaking I prefer black and white to color when there’s inks involved, so that’s saying a lot. The characters came out nice and fluid, and the roughness of the major outlines was quite appealing set against the rest. The colors are nice and vivid where appropriate, and the values are well planned. I’m curious to see what this looks like greyscale, I bet it’s great.

I saw a few reviews mentioning how awesomely weird things were. I hit this up shortly after I finished ‘Moonshadow‘, though, and as far as weird goes…. Also, if you’ve read the ‘Sandman’ series, that’s pretty strange too. (Not to mention a number of webcomics. One of the many cool things about artists practicing their skills with webcomics is how totally strange things get.) So while I liked the art and all that, I wouldn’t call it super out there, unless you don’t spend a lot of time on these other things.

Anyway, the art is pretty Western, although at this point in time there’s Japanese influences in everything, so don’t be surprised if you see a flourish here and there.

The story overall, though, reminded me much more of manga—bearing in mind that one volume doesn’t say that much. There is a narrator, which is a fairly Western device (from what I’ve seen); another first-person retrospective instead of someone outside the story. The timing of the panels seems more Japanese-inspired to me (they tend to move faster through actions than Western comics and bandes dessinées yes I totally own some Tintin), but I don’t think it’s supposed to be one way or the other.

In one volume, I can’t say that much about the story, but I am more intrigued by the setting and the side characters (TEAM THE STALK FOREVERRRR) than the main characters at this point. They fit the settings well enough, they’re just somewhat archetypal. Vaughan does toss in some great zingers where appropriate, and it’s not that they’re flat, it’s just that I’ve seen those character types thrown together a lot before. That said, I think the parents may turn out to be more plot devices to keep the story moving anyway (wait, aren’t all good characters plot devices? Hang on a second…), because the others have been plenty engaging so far, even when they fall into one archetype or another, too.

I’ve already invested in volume 2, so that’ll be up in a few days.

View all my reviews

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