Page 45 Review by Stephen
"Anyone who thinks one book has all the answers hasn't read enough books."
This is an indisputable truth.
But it's also Brian K. Vaughan spreading more than a little authorial love since SAGA is the biggest-selling series of graphic novels on the shelves right now, and he's suggesting that his readers might like to sample something new too.
Spreading love is what Vaughan and Staples do best. Like THE WICKED + THE DIVINE - equally venerated for its wit, irreverence and beauty - it is one of the most inclusive comics imaginable. Diversity is all, and SAGA's space setting enables Vaughan and Staples to represent individuals of all shapes, sizes, colours, creeds, sexual orientations, thorax articulations and genital configurations.
And I'm not just saying; I am being a responsible vendor.
It's neither prurient nor lurid, but every volume boasts what I now call a 'Brian & Fiona Moment' when two of the sweetest creators on the planet remind you that they're both adults, that you leave these books lying around your grandparents' bungalow at your own risk and that dragons have solitary sex lives too.
It is, however, deliciously mischievous and iconoclastic, taking every opportunity to turn preconceptions upon their heads. Here's the always-infuriated Prince Robot - from a race of walking, talking, fornicating television sets - whom we dislike intensely but still adore:
"Why would I degrade myself by putting on a lesser's uniform? I appear absolutely nothing like the man wearing it."
"Looks close enough to me."
"Because you people are filthy racists who think every Robot looks the same."
Fortunately for this subterfuge, his Coalition partners are equally unenlightened but that's wilful war / mindless hatred for you.
Regardless of its superficial setting SAGA is essentially about love instead: love between individuals and for their children. It's a generational epic which leaps years between volumes, always ending with a WTF moment. Quite often those cliff-hangers are suspended upon separation or reunion. For a book about family, Alana, Marko and their daughter spend a great deal of anxious time apart. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and your heart - as well as theirs - will be left bursting.
Cleverly then, this book begins with three chapters of separated perspectives, each oblivious to what the others parties are up to or how they will eventually converge. Then some begin to converge, always leaving you with a lot of the unknown to forward to.
This review's Fiona Staples Life Class for you is eyes. Will you just look at those eyes! Each pair is different, even between lovers. Alana and Marko are not the only two lovers here, though I did love Alana in glasses. No, I'm talking about two others who have very different priorities and outlooks on life, reflected in the bright ambitious glee or softer, soulful solemnity with which takes right from wrong seriously.
In others' there is a wide-eyed innocence born, I concede, from a certain lucky ignorance, but just wait until you meet Petrichor! Petrichor's eyes are constantly trying to discern then evaluate what they're seeing: attempting to make sense of what they believe they've discovered. You can see intellect working in conjunction with instinct behind those two eyes which is a neat visual trick to pull off. But which of the two will win out?
If I were to sum up SAGA, and the experience of reading it, I would pick this:
Endless, unexpected revelations followed by kindness and truth.
"We're all aliens to someone.
"Even among our own people, most of us will still feel like complete foreigners from time to time. Usually associated with invasions, abductions, or other hostile acts, the term "alien" gets a bad rap. But over the years, the word has come to mean something very different to me..."
Page-turn for one perfect beat.
"... Future friend material."