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petrii ([personal profile] petrii) wrote2016-10-24 07:59 pm
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Reading List: Saga Vol 1-5

Front cover for Vol 1 of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics
 

A series I'd been meaning to read for a very long time but never really got around to. Due to it being extremely NSFW and expensive. However the University has five volumes of it (And getting the 6th at some point) and it was on our reading list and highly recommended by everyone that had read it. 

This is a collection of my thoughts about it, what I learned, what I really didn't like about it. These are in no way meant to be taken seriously and are just my opinions gained from devouring all the issues I could get my hands on in about a week.  THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS

In brief, Saga is about a couple on opposite sides of a war that spans the entire galaxy, and their tiny (illegal) daughter. In more words it's about far more characters and far more concepts. All of it told via flashback of the daughter many years later. 

Things I noticed: 

Firstly: Holy Maker this comic knows when to kill people off. I tend to dislike death in most mediums I read (unless it's mooks that no one cares about, or Homestuck where no one really dies properly unless you're really unlucky.) so I was expecting to be really dissatisfied with Saga the same way I was with ASOIAF. When everyone can die, you don't form a connection with anyone. It's just a series of watching over and over as people you don't care about do awful things in the name of being "historically accurate." (well. TBF that's more a criticism on the TV show than the books, but that's another argument and one I am not qualified to give). 

Saga has a lot of death. EVERYWHERE. In the first few pages you're introduced to a war, and exactly how terrible that war is for both/all sides involved. This is a theme that continues. Everywhere. A lot of these deaths are also very sudden, coming out of nowhere just when I was starting to think that that character wasn't a complete bastard. While other times the death is telegraphed in the text of the daughter telling the story to you. This happens more rarely, but when it does it's done extremely well, and I found myself wanting to skip ahead to that part of the comic so I could see how they met their demise. 

Compared to ASOIAF where I started to put the book down when I knew someone was about to die just when I'd started to care about them as an actual person. Saga I never wanted to put down (well at least not for death reasons). 

I'm not sure why there's this difference. Maybe ASOIAF made me numb to death. Maybe it's because the characters I'm really interested in I know won't die for a really long time. (Thanks to the fact that this entire thing is a flashback, and I've been told they live). 

The next thing that's very obvious with Saga is that it's very, very sexual. Too sexual in a lot of ways (especially for I, an asexual) and there are a lot of places where the sex/nudity felt kind of out of place. Like it was just there to shock the reader, or because it would be funny. I don't really mind this, because it did genuinely shock me, and was genuinely funny. And usually did add something to the story, though panels had to be added to make it properly relevant. 

The big thing that I didn't like in Saga in regards to sex is where there's an interaction that basically goes along the lines of: 

"So, do you know what the opposite of War is?" 
"Yes. It's fucking."

Like. What?? What?? No??? I asked my friend who can feel sexual attraction and this is, in fact, a statement that makes legitimate sense for him. So I think I'm just going to have to sigh and nod and accept that this is indeed a thing that exists. For whatever reason. (Even if the logic he used for it being the opposite of war was kind of sketchy to me.) Wouldn't the opposite of war be something like. IDK. I delivery room in a hospital? makes more sense to me than sex anyway. 

Also blood and guts and murder everywhere but that was par for the course. The series IS about a planet and it's moon being locked in a galaxy wide war after all. Also bounty hunters. Which leads to the next few points. 

The world building in Saga is phenomenal. I can tell where everything is, usually just by the background (unusual for me, usually I have to rely on the helpful location text).

And I can tell which characters are from where. Though to be fair, Saga makes this fairly easy, as the characters all show their race very well. There are people with TV's for heads (Whose biology makes NO sense. The one nitpicky thing I have with Saga is that the biology runs with rule of cool instead of what would actually WORK) who you can tell the expressions of, and what rank they are by their clothes and body language. Which is the true test of a comics medium. If all you have is a silhouette can you still make a character believable? 

In Saga's case, that answer is yes. 

Not really sure what else I have to say here. Other than it's made me think more on formats where the story is told from another character in the future. Which is a format I really despise in most works but Saga does it perfectly.