What did the
Art by Fiona Staples
Cover by Fiona Staples
Size: 0 pages
Since childhood, I’ve been a huge fan of Space Opera. Grand, sweeping
stories focusing on underdogs fighting against overwhelming odds have
always appealed to me. I’m talking about stories featuring robots, aliens,
ray-guns, and space ships, but focusing more on the characters and their
journey than on the science of the fiction. Stories like Star Wars. Even
today, I still get chills from watching the iconic Star Destroyer flyover
in A New Hope.
There are a number of comics out there that tackle the Space Opera genre,
but for me, none have come as close to recreating the old Star Wars magic
as Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staple’s Saga.
I’m happy to say that issue 7 keeps that magic flowing. This book
continues to amaze me, and it does so without drawing on any trite shock
and awe tactics. Instead, Saga succeeds by doing all of the little
For starters, I’m blown away by how well the panels are laid out. The
narrative flows smoothly from panel to panel, and transitions fluidly from
page to page. In fact, reading Saga feels more like watching a
movie than like reading a comic book. I don’t know if it’s B.K.V. or Staples
who decides how the book is laid out & plotted, but whoever it is, they
do it well.
Some creative teams seem to struggle at telling a coherent story while
working within the inherent limitations of the comic book format. You get
the feeling that they have a vision in mind, but wind up compromising that
vision in order to cram their story into 32 pages of monotonously plotted
With Saga, Vaughan and Staples take those limitations and somehow
magically transform them into an asset. For them, the panels and pages
aren’t an obstacle; instead, they’re another set of tools used to enhance
the narrative. Plot elements flow seamlessly from panel to panel, and
rather than interrupt the story, the page breaks are used to heighten the story’s emotional impact.
Vaughan has a gift for weaving together a story that snares readers immediately, holds their attention until the last panel, and leaves them wanting more. For those who haven’t checked out the series yet, the story is fairly straightforward: A man and woman who have been fighting on opposite sides of an interstellar war fall in love, have a child, and in doing so make themselves outlaws in the eyes of both sides in the
conflict. The new family makes a run for it, pursued by an assortment of colorful characters and making new friends and enemies along the way.
This issue begins a new story arc, and is a great jumping-on point. New
readers can join the journey without feeling lost, thanks to a well-executed summary of the last arc provided at the beginning of of the book.
In just a few short pages, the creative team brings new readers up to speed through a cleverly executed flash-back that showcases how well their talents complement one another. Vaughan takes the history and world that has been established over the last six issues and manages to compress it into a single scene. Fiona Staple’s uncanny ability to capture complex emotions with a few well-chosen pen-strokes provides the emotional context. If Vaughan is the heart of Saga, Fiona Staples is the soul.
Staples’ art is beautiful. There’s no other word for it. Her pallet has
a pleasantly muted, watercolor feel that seem to caress the eye. The combination of pastels and earth tones is almost hypnotic. Each panel is exciting and engaging, but at the same time manages to be as soothing and appealing as a warm, comfortable bed on a cold night. The art doesn’t just simply pull you into the story; it does something even more incredible: It gently entices you to fall into the story, and once you’re there, you don’t want to get up again.
Between DC’s New 52 and Marvel NOW, there are a lot of great titles
slugging it out on the shelves. Saga is the rising star you need to keep
your eye on. Once again, this book has delivered the perfect one-two punch
of good writing and breathtakingly beautiful art. It has left me sitting
on the mat in a daze, and I want more.
Art: 5 - Excellent