Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples
This is going to be a tough review to write. The reason is that there is something special about any single issue of Saga. But with me only reading sporadic single issues (I have yet to be able to bring myself around to putting this on my recurring pull-list), it is tough to articulate why without being able to string the whole thing together with reference to the entire series. GWW Editor-in-Chief Casey Walsh feels that these read better in trade, and I’m inclined to agree. Still, I cannot allow that to take away from the wonder of the ongoing series as incremental installments.
In the midst of a galactic war that is every bit as wondrous as the Star Wars epic, character development threads continue to blossom. This issue features characters sacrificing themselves for comrades, painful considertions of family (do I kill my brother because he is evil?), and care shown for those who need protecting, even when they are not family.
Fiona Staples paints a pretty amazing tapestry of art. I am not sure that her style would work in a book about capes, but it works perfectly fine here. With all of the strange creatures and lifeforms in this issue, Staples draws them as well as the best body-form artist. There is a slight bit of inconsistency for some of the non-human characters across a few panels. But that can easily be forgiven for the high quality of everything else drawn in this issue.
There is a lot of quirkiness here in the story, and a writer could easily fall into the trap of trying to get by SOLELY on the weirdness. But every character is rich and deep. This is the story of war, and Vaughan navigates through an intricate story with absolutely superb dialogue. I’ll say that one thing that works so well as a device in this issue is that it would be very easy to have tons of panels with hordes of characters on screen, given the size of the ensemble cast. But Vaughan more often paints intimate moments between two or three characters at a time and that is one of the things that makes you feel the depth of these individual characters. Whereas in DC’s Convergence, where I am very familiar with all of those character concepts, I still feel lost really getting a grasp on who Jeff King wants each of those characters to be. In Saga, where I basically know no one, I feel like I know each of those characters well and Vaughan brings that across in the course of only a few panels each.
Saga is no doubt worthy of being on anyone’s pull list. It is a sparkling display of craft. While you’ll definitely get more out of the series if you read it monthly, you will still appreciate the art and story if you only drop in occassionally. Feel free to grab this issue or any other from time to time. You’ll not regret it.