The Lalagirl Looking Through Books

Read This When: You Need A Saga

The word “saga” is defined as “a dramatic and often complicated story or series of events”. From Lord of the Rings to Star Wars, who doesn’t enjoy an epic tale of massive scale to escape their boring, everyday lives? If you enjoyed watching (or reading) any of the above, I have the recommendation for you; perfectly enough, it’s called Saga.

Saga is a graphic novel series written by Brian K. Vaughan and published under Image Comics. You may previously know Vaughan from Paper Girls, his other work containing elements of Stranger Things and time travel. Saga is another one of his popular comics, a bold, extraterrestrial story best categorized as a space opera/fantasy mix.

Staying true to its namesake, Saga is grand in scale of both setting and plot. Its setting is the entire universe at an unknown time period, taking place on multiple planets varying in environment and culture. The main backdrop consists of Landfall and Wreath, two opposing planets that have sucked the entire galaxy into their war. This conflict plays a substantial role in the plot, as the storyline follows two members from each planet who have fallen in love.

At this point, it sounds very Romeo and Juliet-esque: two star-crossed lovers and two sides in a conflict. In this case, though, it’s not the Montagues and the Capulets at war. Rather, it’s the “Landfallians” and “moonies”, and set in space.

The couple, Alana and Marko, meet as a prisoner and guard. After bonding over a book, they flee and bear a child together. The plot then follows their family as they go on the run from their respective governments, as it is complete taboo that the two species ever befriend each other, let alone mate. The entire story is narrated by a grownup version of their daughter Hazel, a strong hint to its end game. Despite this spoiler, their journey is still worth a read. 

One of this series’ greatest strengths is the vast array of characters. I would argue it’s on par with the level of intricacy as Game of Thrones. Each member of the cast is diverse in both character design and personality. Take The Will for example, a skilled bounty hunter who just wants to settle down with his girlfriend and adopt a kid, yet is forced time and time again to pick up more jobs. Or Prince Robot IV; he’s a TV-humanoid thing from the Robot Kingdom, whose backstory can be summed up as a posh prince with daddy issues trying to restore his name (Major Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes, I know.) While these are two of my favorites, both are merely a drop in the sea of diverse characters that Vaughan has written.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Prince Robot IV finally catches Marko! Chapter 23. #saga #sagacomic #comics #imagecomics #royalty #black #robots

A post shared by Saga Comics (@saga.comics) on

Be warned, however, that Saga does not hold back on nudity and gore. It is unapologetically realistic in all of its scenes, portraying the most personal moments of life. The very first panel depicts child birth, something other series may shy away from, but Saga embraces with open arms. While this honesty may be a turn off to others, I believe it makes the audience even more invested in the story as it absolutely decimates the barrier between the reader and character.

Saga develops some of the most authentic relationships ever seen in entertainment. A big part of this is how Vaughan writes flawed characters; no one is a Mary/Gary Sue. They make mistakes, learn from it, and carry on. The main couple has misunderstandings and petty arguments, and all of the protagonists have messed up at some point. Another component of writing authentic relationships is the dialogue between the cast. It’s a perfect blend of humor and human, engaging to the reader yet realistic enough where you might overhear the same phrases in real life. 

These accurate portrayals are where the true heart of Saga lies. Readers end up invested in characters, rooting for them to survive. The story that unfolds isn’t necessarily about the intergalactic battles between worlds and the whimsical creatures they encounter—though that’s cool, too. Rather, it zeroes in on one pair of star-crossed lovers trying to live their life and show their daughter the galaxy. It isn’t exactly the saga of heroic soldiers and immense empires; it’s the saga of a single family and a girl growing up.


Saga currently spans nine volumes, or 54 issues, and Vaughan claims the series is only about halfway through. Unfortunately, after a nail biting cliffhanger, the comic has been put on hold for an indefinite period of time. Despite the hiatus, give it a read! From dishonored bounty hunters, to a monarchy of TV-people, to planets that are actually giant fetuses—there’s something in this series for everyone.

Saga is probably my favorite series of all time. Have I swayed you to read it? Order the first volume here, or check out your local used bookstore!

 

Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!