SAGA (VOL. 3) by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples–a Review

SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples continues to be one of the most beautiful, interesting, and fantastical comics series around. There’s a reason volume 1 won the Hugo for Best Graphic Story in 2013 and volume 2 was nominated for Best Graphic Story in 2014, and Staples was nominated for the Best Professional Artist category in 2014.

Without getting too spoilery, volume 2 left off with a big cliffhanger/surprise. Volume 3 backs up a bit, providing the details of how star-crossed lovers Marko and Alana arrived on Quietus to visit D. Oswald Heist. Volume 3 also complicates the story of bountyhunter The Will, his boss Gwendolyn (also Marko’s ex), and the recently rescued Slave Girl. And if that wasn’t enough, two tabloid reporters are investigating Marko and Alana’s story, ruffling some very important feathers (pun intended) along the way.

This is more of a “breather” issue. Marko and Alana want to pause and figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. They can’t keep running forever, even with their magic spaceship. And even The Will has to find a way (again, pun intended) to keep going with his assignment, even after this job has taken so much from him. New characters and new twists are introduced, and things are primed to get a little crazy in volume 4. I really can’t wait.

The world and artwork of Saga continue to amaze me. Staples hooked me with a strange, exotic mix of sci-fi and fantasy worlds with high-tech angels and robot royalty taking on magic-wielding satyrs in a war that spans galaxies in volume 1, and her artwork continues to impress. And as beautiful and cinematic as the artwork is, it’s the little details that continue to get me–a stray image in the background, or a little detail to flesh out the world. It forces me to slow down, and it prevents me from tearing through this volume.

And Vaughan’s writing equals Staples’s artwork. Although this is a “breather” issue, Vaughan gives enough hints about where the story is headed, and just how complicated it is about to get. And although Saga could easily be a fluff adventure piece that is more at home in a pulp novel, Vaughan continues to incorporate incisive commentary about bigger issues such as family, war, aging, love, and loss.

Don’t start here, but certainly start reading Saga. It’s one of the most unique, most beautiful series out there. If you’re looking for something good and something different, stop looking. You’ve found it.