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Saga: Volume One
By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reviewed by Karl Wolff
Behold the awesome that is Saga: Volume One. Written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Fiona Staples, the series begins with an ill-fated love affair and the birth of a child. The lovers Alana and Marko flee their war-ravaged world in order to raise their child in peace. This all sounds pretty much like de rigueur Joseph Campbell Hero With a Thousand Faces epic story arc. But what would otherwise be a standard template space opera narrative gets heaped with a dump truck full of crazy. Set amidst an interplanetary war where the fighting has been out-sourced, the universe has a bizarre appearance. Yes, there are aliens and robots, just not the aliens and robots you'd expect. Alana is a dark-skinned ex-soldier with insectoid wings, reminiscent of mythical fairies. (Her fellow inhabitants of the planet Landfall also have wings, but wings can be like bats or birds or insects.) Marko, from Landfall's moon Wreath, has a pair of ram-like horns, but is otherwise humanoid. But one thinks of satyrs and fauns. In their desperate attempt to escape, Marko bought a map from a grease monkey. The grease monkey happens to be a human-sized monkey who speaks in a hard-boiled detective movie argot. Then there's the robots. Human in appearance except for their pale skin color and a TV head. A TV that looks like it's from the Sixties. The robots are part of the Robot Empire and Prince Robot IV seeks vengeance against the murder of his kinsman by Marko and Alana. There are also ghosts, a rocketship forest, and Sextillion, the sex planet. Also seeking to find the child, the Will, a taciturn badass bounty hunter, and the Stem, the Will's ex who looks like a cross between a giant spider and an armless female. It only gets stranger and better from there. Yes, believe the hype: it is a hyper-inventive, visually gorgeous, and politically complex space opera. For sheer inventiveness, it reminds me of reading Excession by Iain Banks and the Culture. This review has been parsimonious in terms of plot, but because it is the first volume of an epic series, all I can do is recommend highly.
Out of 10/9.0
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