SAGA Deluxe vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples

by Kristopher Cook
SAGA Deluxe vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples - Graphic Novel Review - Kristopher Cook

I’ve never been a big fan of Graphic novels. I enjoyed Frank Miller’s run of Daredevil [1979- 1981] and Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-men [1975–1991], but they are both far from modern.

They’re revolutionary in that they spawned several other novels, including allowing graphic novels to delve deeper into more adult themes. However, I’ve not read anything since then that has grasped me in the same way.

Having seen the hype for SAGA, I wanted desperately to read it, but I also told myself I should get the full deluxe hardback version, as I did with the previously mentioned omnibuses.

I’m so happy I did!

Prince Robot IV

The artwork, handled by Fiona Staples, is absolutely stunning. Seeing it printed in an oversized format only heightens the depth and detail within each frame. It’s when I look at each chapter that I realise why it takes so long to create.

Adult Fantasy (Not Like That!)

Described as a fantasy-adventure, SAGA doesn’t do things in small doses. The language is loud, the violence is graphic, and the sex is insatiable. It’s all these things that help to earn it a mature rating.

The story centres on Marko, the male lead from Landfall’s moon Wreath, and Alana, from technologically advanced Coalition of Landfall.

Despite being of different races, Alana falls for Marko whilst he’s imprisoned in a slave camp that Alana is working at. She devises a plan to help him escape, which is where the story begins; with them on the run from the advanced military forces.

This is how my parents met.

As they’re unable to capture them, the prince hires several bounty hunters to help out.

Beginning their travels across the planet, they encounter various exciting characters and environments along the way, each more colourful than the last.

All of this is told from the perspective of Hazel, the daughter of the two leads who goes from uterus to early infant over the course of the book.

Her observations and scathing attacks on those around her are both humorous and evoking of the world they inhabit– one that’s quickly falling apart.

There are plenty of tender, more human-like qualities to the characters than I first realised, with Hazel being the prime example.

Showing Great Character

The story-telling on display here is nothing short of brilliant.

Each of the characters feels dynamic as if they’re each acting according to their own personalities and goals.

Given that each chapter takes around thirty minutes to read, you can pick the book up whenever you have a break, and feel satisfied with the story progression without reading the whole thing at once.

I found myself being drawn towards The Will, one of the bounty hunters, who despite his ruthless persona, has morality issues regarding the treatment of others. This is especially true when he finds pimps shamelessly exploiting others to make a profit.

The Will and his companion, Lying Cat.
The Will and his companion, Lying Cat.

His companion of choice is the Lying Cat, which can detect, and will call out, whenever anyone if lying, including The Will.

This leads to some very uncomfortable situations.

As you can see from the artwork, it’s not only loud and brash, but it has incredible detail too. This goes a long way to heightening the plot.

Deluxe Notes

In the back of the deluxe version is a collection of sketches, concepts, and environment art; all accompanied with notes from both Vaughan and Staples. If you have any interest in either comic book artwork or character art, then this section is a must.

Closing Thoughts

SAGA Deluxe vol. 1 is an excellent book for getting into the series.

The oversized printing and the hardback finish give it a high-quality feel, which matches the artwork perfectly. The characters are all unique, and it feels like a pleasure getting to know them all – even the so-called baddies.

If you’ve thought about picking up SAGA in the past but haven’t gotten around to reading it, I cannot stress how good this story is. Although graphic, there is something here for everyone.

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