First Impressions: Saga

Cover to Saga Vol. 1

I know I am a little late to the game, but I just finished reading Saga Volume 1. So, I thought I would take a little bit of time to talk about what I think. The beginning of a story is crucial because they need to give you enough that you understand what is going on and want more, but not so much that you feel like you already know what is going to happen. Saga definitely starts out strong and I hope it continues strong. They introduce a lot of the characters, the politics, the history, and the main story line in a way that does not reveal all, but reveals enough that I do not feel completely lost.

One thing I am loving about the story is that it is simultaneously a big and a little story. The big story is about two races at war with each other across the galaxy. The two sides fight on every world, except their home ones because they are neighbors. At the same time it is also about the story of two people on opposite sides of the conflict trying to find a place for themselves and their child. I am still early on so I have no idea what is going to happen, but some of the concepts and ideas I have seen so far definitely make me interested to read more. (Potential spoilers for Saga Volume 1 after the jump)

 Space Fantasy

Part of what I am loving is combining the space travel, other worlds, etc, with fantasy. You might initially look at the location of Saga and call it science fiction, but they introduce magic very quickly to show that even though the setting might look familiar it is grounded in the mystical. Instead of using scientific principles to explain why things happen we have rituals, rites, and other mythical applications. One of the things that highlights this so beautifully is a place called Rocket Ship Forest where the ships are not built, but grown. To enter the ship Marko and Alana had to be willing to give something up of value as a sacrifice to enter the ship. The ritual and building of the ship look like what a druid would build if it was traveling the galaxy. It adds a very different feel to the story and since it is not grounded in the scientific laws there are so many more options to explore.

Rocket Ship Forest

Storyteller

One of the other parts that I am loving is that the story is being told from Hazel, the daughter of Marko and Alana. The conversations we see from other people, but the narration is being provided by Hazel, who actually does not have a name at the beginning of the story. We start from her birth and while we know she is alive to tell the story, we cannot know who is alive along with her. It creates a certain level of anticipation because we want to understand how she went from just being born to retelling her story. Will this lead in to her telling her story to someone else? Or will this just be a portion of her larger story and this is just the tale of Saga? It will be interesting to see, especially because Hazel and her parents are being hunted by everyone because she could either be seen as great hope or an abomination.Hazel Narrating

Characters

No good story would work if you did not have good protagonists. Marko and Alana are great. We start out with them hiding a way in a mechanic’s garage giving birth to their child. You can tell that they love each other very much and want to protect each other. The fact that they are ambushed right after giving birth to their daughter is telling of what the rest of the story is going to be, but they keep surviving. Now if only Marko and Alana were interesting you would still have a decent story, but so far all of the characters they have introduced have been interesting. There is a robot prince, a couple of mercenaries, and a planet of ghosts. The design and artistry really brings the characters to life and shows them all with motivations and understandings of their own.

Alana and Marko

Conclusion

I know I have only read Volume 1, but already I would recommend Saga to others. It seems like a great story and headed in an interesting direction. I am excited to read Volume 2 and 3, that we already have, to find out what happens with Hazel, Marko, and Alana, as well as to see if this is the beginning of the end of the war between Landfall and Wreath or is it leading to some other tale that I cannot even predict. I have no idea, but want to find out more. The other intriguing part that will be interesting to see is how all the other planets and races act toward this family considering that the war between Wreath and Landfall does not actually happen on their home turf, but everywhere else in the galaxy.

Wreath vs. Landfall

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12 responses to “First Impressions: Saga

  1. I’ve recently gotten into Saga as well. The story moves very slowly, which normally wouldn’t be my style, but somehow works. I don’t read the issues, just wait for the trades to come out and binge read. -t

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    • I like the trades because then you can read in larger chunks. Even just reading Volume 1 I could see how it would move slower if I was waiting issue to issue. It reminds me of certain shows that sometimes they move so slow but if you binge watch the show is really good.

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    • I agree, it is a bit slow; slower than I expected. I kind of thought it would be more like a Graphic Novel, telling a discreet story in a set amount of time. And maybe it will be, but it’s not going to be a short amount of time!

      We recently read Locke & Key, and that finished up an amazing plot in 6 trade paperbacks. I do not see Saga finishing up in that sort of timeframe at all. Which is cool, too; I hope to be reading and loving Saga for many years to come!

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  2. I agree with a lot of your thoughts about Saga. I love it too, and like you said, what really works is how they balance this epic war with the more personal story the narrator is telling about her family. It’s a great mash-up of the dysfunctional family story with a crazy war story, which I haven’t seen done before!

    Anyway, I’m like you in that I got into Saga a little late. I read the first two volumes in a weekend and then started reading issue by issue. It’s an addicting story!

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  3. I love Saga! 😀

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  4. It’s really nice that David posted something about the Incal from Jodorowsky and Moebius, because it reminded me of something I enjoyed when reading Saga, this fantastic fusion of amazing art with big science fiction and big fantasy concepts.

    I’m not saying that the Saga and Incal universe are all that similar, but I think they have a similar complementary vibe. If Prince Robot, for example, were required to track down John Difool and the Incal, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    But back on Saga: great series. Great great series. I really appreciate you highlighting the big story of the Wreath/Landfall war and the personal story of a two young people from Wreath and Landfall falling in love.

    Alana and Marko are so endearing (and *real*) that I’m stupidly crazily invested in their story, and in Hazel’s.

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    • That is a very good point, they do both have a solid combination of science fiction and fantasy, happily blended. Happy to have helped you help me make that connection 🙂

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    • I have not read Incal so I will trust David and your judgment on that one. Alana and Marko are amazing and Hazel is adorable. I love the foreshadowing but not understanding what it means because it really makes me want to know what happens.

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