Saga, Volume 1: Chapters 1-6
Fist off, sorry for the delayed review. The day that I bought Saga, Volume 1 is also the day that I was hit with a nasty cold, complete with a fever, bodily aches, cough and congestion. Secondly, you may notice that this one is titles Chapter 1-6. I goofed on the preview title, and I blame it on my sickness. I was delirious I tell you! Haha. Now that I am better, on with the review!
I included a short synopsis in my last article about this particular graphic novel here, so I won’t rehash the plot points. However, one thing that I like about the plot is that the good guys aren’t all good, as well as the bad guys aren’t all bad. You have an amoral bounty hunter who murders a man for employing a child in a brothel and the bounty hunter then frees the child. That same bounty hunter is also bitterly in love with a colleague, and who also has a dog that can tell when people are lying. You have a main protagonist, Marko, who is so prone to violence that he has sworn not to kill or to use the ancestral sword that he carries, but then does so to protect his family. You have a ghostly babysitter, who agrees to watch the newborn Hazel at night as long as she can travel with the family. Like I said, the characters don’t really fit ready made stereotypes. Additionally, it doesn’t fit ready made genre categories either, as it is a blending of fantasy and science fiction and drama.
As for the way that the story is told, I really like that Hazel is the sometimes narrator that interjects personal comments about her parents into the narrative. This isn’t down in a manner that overwhelms the parents’ dialogue and story, but instead adds quirky hindsight from a future perspective. Also, the dashes of sarcasm really keep the dialogue interesting, and the writing is really well done. I find it on par with the TV shows, Firefly and Doctor Who, in that the sarcasm and humor keep the dialogue moving, and make it more memorable (and more like the way people actually talk to one another).
As for visual set-up of the graphic novel, I dig the art style. It is angular and unique. It is also creepy. Not in a blood and gore way, but more in a race with TV monitors for a head, or a giant multi-armed spider that is also a bounty hunter. The visual arrangement of the cells is fairly straightforward, which streamlines the reading process. For someone who is new to graphic novels and comic books, this is a distinct benefit. I know that, as I have introduced comic books to people, too cluttered or varied of a visual format can actually put people off of the format. It also helps to focus on the characters and the dialogue itself, wherein lies the true strength of this title.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys graphic novels, and it is also a good starting place for newer readers of comic books and graphic novels. However, be warned, there is mature content in the the series so far (i.e., visits to brothels, a sex scene, murder, endless and graphic war, just to name a few), and so I must limit my recommendation to those mature enough to handle it. If I had to put an age on it, that would at least 16 or 17. Of course, that is subject to a parents’ judgement of what their child can reasonably handle, but is definitely on the mature side.
What graphic novel(s) or series would you recommend? I would love to hear what you enjoy reading.