For me, anything new from Brian K. Vaughan is a must-buy. After giving the world both Ex Machina and Y:The Last Man, he’s earned it. I’ve been pumped for Saga since it was announced at Comic-Con last summer, and I went to my local comics shop this week wishin’ and hopin’ for a book that wouldn’t disappoint. Would the Vaughan magic transfer over to the space opera scale he was going for?
Yes, he did manage it, but Saga is more than that. It’s a masterpiece in the making, a chance to see a stellar writer/artist team truly stretch the boundaries of their medium yet still keep everything comfortably accessible. It’s not easy to truly show the ambition of your project in the span of a single issue, but Vaughan and Staples do it here, and it makes Saga a comic that takes you deep into its universe right from the opening pages.
On the surface it’s a Romeo and Juliet tale. Two star-crossed (almost literally) lovers from opposing worlds in the midst of a war, running off together and having a baby. The child narrates the tale from some point in the future, but her parents are the stars, fighting their way through a world that calls their love an abomination.
Almost immediately, though, other threads emerge. Cultures take shape, conflicts are set up, planets move into alignment. Vaughan is doing more than telling a doomed intergalactic love story here. He’s setting us up for a tale that could end up dwarfing the scale of his other masterpieces.
Staples is also a star in these pages. She fills her panels with intensity without resorting to action cliches or forced dramatic posing. But beyond the skill, beyond the power of her lines, there’s a kind of warmth. You see it first in her cover painting, but it persists throughout. Vaughan makes this book compelling, but Staples makes it inviting.
This is a comic that deserves all the hype and advance praise it got, and now that it’s here I can’t wait for the next issue. Vaughan continues to affirm his place among the great comics storytellers, and Staples is a superstar in the making. But perhaps the best thing about Saga, at this point, is that this is only the beginning.