Authors spend ages thinking over the perfect opening lines, the perfect way to grab a reader and plunge them into a story. Saga does that brilliantly, with the first piece of dialogue (above) and the narration on the first page of the novel (This is how an idea becomes real). And, as we all know, the first thing a reader reads (and sees, in the case of graphic novels) is crucial.
Saga tells the story of Marko and Alana, soldiers from opposite sides, fighting in a never-ending war. Their attempts to escape the war backfire when they are tracked down, and they must run to save themselves, their love, and the life of their new-born child, the narrator of the story.
As with Hit-Girl, the art in Saga is beautiful. Unlike Hit-Girl, the art here needs to do a lot more. Rather than just tell the story of the characters, the art also has to create whole new worlds, has to make us fully believe in the strange terrains and landscapes these characters travel across. And the appearance of the characters themselves has to say a lot, with the two main characters having more than just different home planets and lives separating them. They are also separated by their very appearance, Marko with his horns and Alana with her wings. But these aren’t the only two species inhabiting the worlds of the graphic novel. We also see human-like characters with TVs for heads, monkey-like men, and drifting lost souls. It’s clear that a hell of a lot of work has gone into the world building of this, and it pays off nicely.
As for the main characters, well, Marko and Alana are very human. They’re relatable, they bounce off each other and at times, have you wondering why the hell they’re together. There are moments when it’s clear to see the love they have for each other, and moments when they butt heads so spectacularly that it makes you question how they ended up together. But…it makes the relationship itself feel more real. After all, don’t we all know a couple that seem to click and compliment each other brilliantly one day, and the next just seem to act like children about something? But they’re the kind of couple that doesn’t take it too far, and are there to support the other one when it’s needed.
Marko and Alana are a lot like that, and little things about their relationship become more clear as we find out how, exactly, they met.
As well as the two main characters, there’s a whole host of supporting characters that are, basically, very strong. We get almost behind the scenes glimpses at those who had hired to track down the two runaways, and although at first the bounty hunters come across as right dick heads, but like Alana and Marko we’re treated to further glimpses into their pasts, and see more human-like, decent sides to them. There are characters that make you want to slap them, and there are characters that make you want to slap them then hug them then wish everything would just turn out all right for everyone, damn it.
Saga, the story of a love forged during a never-ending war, is a brilliant read. It really tugs you into the world, makes you feel for the characters involved – no matter what side they’re on – and leaves you, as all good novels, graphic novels, etc, should, wanting a hell of a lot more. Definitely worth checking out.