Monday, December 31, 2012

Saga: Volume 1

by Brian K. Vaughan (story) and Fiona Staples (art), 161 pages

A generations-long war between the winged race of the planet Landfall and the horned race of the moon Wreath has spread well beyond the limits of the latter's orbit around the former.  Then one day fate brings an unruly winged soldier named Alana face-to-face with a tired horned prisoner of war named Marko on a muddy little planet called Cleave.  The two argue, bond over a trashy romance novel, come to realize they have the same view of this endless war, and run away together.  Only their respective home-worlds won't let them off so easily.  With bounty hunters and zealous soldiers perpetually on their heels, it's a wonder they have enough time to bring a daughter into the universe, but they do just that before setting off across the stars in hopes of giving her a future free of the death and destruction that is all they've ever known.

Ooh, this is quite lovely and different and unafraid to be either.  It's also violent and unsettlingly graphic, but the unpleasantness is sadly part of everyday existence for these people.  Happily, so is snark.  I love that this series isn't just about the romance or the adventure--it's about family and hard work and life and death and all those ongoing things that are the reality usually ignored by "happily ever after."  Alana and Marko's daughter, Hazel, provides intermittent commentary from some unknown point in the future as we watch her parents struggle to keep her and each other alive through labor and firefights and "haunted" forests and unexpected visits from her grandparents.  Just like in the real world, the politics are crazy (there are winged-race-aligned royals with computer monitors for heads who, like royalty anywhere, don't seem to have much control of their own lives).  And the bounty hunters and other pursuers are scary but complicated, themselves.  I've been looking forward to reading this for many months and am excitedly awaiting the next trade paper installment.

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