Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review 47. Saga Volumes #1-4

Book: Saga Volumes #1-4
Series: Saga (#1-4)
Author: Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Genre: Adult Fantasy Graphic Novel
Pages: 600 (total)
Published: October 23rd, 2012 - December 17th, 2014

Synopsis: When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.
From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Doesn't matter if it's personal or professional, a good partnership takes work.”  

I've decided to rate the first four volumes in this series in one large review because they're all so short, and I read them so quickly that my opinions kind of merged together.

I have to rate every volume in this series 5 stars so far. Sure, some were better than others, but every single one of them without fail gave me panels that produced a physical reaction, whether an upset gasp or excited squealing. How can I rate a series that hypes me up like that anything less than a glowing 5 stars?

In case you don't know, this series is about parenthood. Over the course of the first four volumes, I'd say there are 3 main plot-lines, all of which are about parenthood. Pretty much every major character is a parent of some sort or a very young child, and the story creates amazing stories from these themes. I've never been a parent, but I think this series does a really great job of showing the struggles, the flaws that every person has, and how raising a child might be one of the hardest things a person could even realistically conceive of doing.

One thing these three plots about parenting do is make all of the characters extremely sympathetic. Characters that at first seem like antagonists are actually layered people who are trying to do what they think is best for their children. No one is straight-out crazy or evil (you could argue), and few are even misguided. Almost everyone is just a parent stuck in the middle of a war. They're just flawed people trying their best. And that's great! I spent a lot of the books not sure who to root for, since all the characters are pretty much trying to kill each other, which is also great (the no clear protagonist thing, not the murder thing)! I love series where there's no clear antagonist (a.k.a. where all sides are justified) with a lot of protagonists, kind of like Game of Thrones.

Additionally, the art for this series is gorgeous. I have to give huge applause to Fiona Staples; your art is fantastic (to me, someone who knows nothing about art). I also really liked the character designs of all the different alien races. They're all only pretty much humans with, like, one or two major differences, but I still think they're pretty cool. But like I said, I don't know much about art, and even less about character design, so take this paragraph with a grain of salt, if that.

Image result for fiona staples saga covers   Image result for fiona staples saga covers

My one critique is that some of the relationships felt really rushed. I feel this way about pretty much every graphic novel series. Books have a huge advantage when it comes to time. They have more time to develop characters and their dynamics. This series, overall, does a good job developing characters, and a pretty good job on various types of relationships. Still, twice by the end of the fourth volume characters unconvincingly "fall in love," or at least become extremely infatuated with each other, after very little shown/actual time with each other.

(This might be a spoiler, so look out) There is one scene where a character refers to a man that she barely knows and has only shown the slightest romantic interest towards as the man she "loves," as though kissing a man once and not really wanting him to die is the same as the love felt by other, more legitimate couples in the series. There's a difference between begrudging respect with a bit of lust thrown in and true love, and I feel like some relationships should have been better developed, or at least not painted in such black and white terms as "true love."

Still, this series is great, and I will 100% continue it as soon as I can get my hands on the next volumes. I recommend it highly.

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