Sunday, January 27, 2013
I tried the first issue when it first came out, and while I liked some of the world building, I felt Brian Vaughn was trying too hard to be edgy. The opening line of dialogue, the fairly graphic robotic sex scene, it just seemed like it was flaunting its new R rating or something. Now that I’ve read the entire first trade, I can say that while those aspects are definitely reigned in after the first issue, they are still there. There are weird adult “touches” that make it seem a little silly. My wife actually commented on the trade when she saw it, but I didn’t suggest she try reading this one. I’m afraid those moments will make her smirk about comics all over again.
That’s not to say the narrative doesn’t have some good stuff. I like the idea of the infant narrator, and the cliffhanger is an extremely strong one. There isn’t a lot of action to be found, but when it happens, it’s pretty intense. Marko’s swift destruction of a squad of hunters gave me a whole new appreciation for him. (Until then, he was really just kind of a whiner.) Alana is harder to get a read on. Sometimes I think she’s a manic pixie dream girl, other times it seems she’s just a tough-talking smart ass.
The Will and Lying Cat are a fun combination. It’s easy to like them, based on their actions so far, but the narrator’s ominous musings about him add quite a bit of mystery and dread to his appearances. I really don’t care for the new ghost character. Her Earth-style of dialogue and fashion takes me out of the story. The ghosts look and talk like annoying kids at the mall; it depresses me to know that teenagers are the same on alien planets too.
The strongest aspects of the series involve the plot and design of the conflict. The two worlds at war are both interesting, and the denizens of each vary in neat ways. One embraces fantasy and sorcery, while the other seems to be more of a sci-fi type set up. The nicknames like “Moonies” that each faction has for the other makes the setting feel established.
It’s a great visual that Fiona Staples uses to full effect. (My wife did ask why Pink was in Saga, was that obvious to everyone else that she was Alana’s model?) Her design on the spaceships is probably my favorite part of the series. Most of the art is more emotion and “acting” based, and Staples does a great job in that respect too. You can tell just from the faces what is happening in almost every scene, even if that involves a spider/centaur lady or a telepathic cat.