Image Comic’s Saga returns after its little summer break with chapter #13! This is definitely one of my favorite series. For those of you who don’t know Saga, I suggest you pick up the first two volumes which cover the initial twelve chapters/issues. It’s a science fiction fantasy series marketed toward adults. That last part is important because the series does include nudity, violence and vulgar language. I am going to give a short summary of the first twelve chapters in the next paragraph, so expect spoilers from anything prior to Saga #13.
To add a little background, the series focuses on an inter-species family. The two primary characters, Alana and Marko are from two species at war but while Marko was in prison, they fell in love. Alana broke them out and in the process they had a child, Hazel. She is the first to be born of both species. You see, Marko is from Wreath, which is the moon orbiting Landfall. Landfall is where Alana is from. Alana’s species has wings while Marko’s has horns and use magic as part of their power. Needless to say, Marko and Alana are fugitives of both military forces. They go on the run while several groups are on their tail. Prince Robot IV, from a royal family, is after them but The Will, a bounty hunter, is also on their tail along with Gwendolyn who just happens to be Marko’s ex-fiancee. The Will and Gwendolyn are also joined by Slave Girl. She is a young child that The Will liberated. The Will has a companion animal, Lying Cat and until recently was in a fairly complicated relationship with a fellow bounty hunter, The Stalk. Meanwhile while on the run, Marko and Alana are aided by Izabel. Izabel is a ghost of a teenage girl and she is bound to Hazel as a protector. On their journey, Marko’s parents arrive. Barr is Marko’s father and sadly dies due to damage done to himself while protecting his family with magic. Klara, Marko’s mother, is still alive and kicking… sometimes quite literally.
Okay, so that should bring you up to speed a bit. In short, this is a sci-fi/fantasy series that is currently focusing on something we can all relate to in human history, racism. Hazel should not exist because she is the offspring of a taboo love between a person of Landfall and a person of Wreath, sworn enemies who believe, obviously, that the other side is weak and below them.
Last we left our heroes, Marko, Alana, Izabel, Klara and Hazel were in their tree rocket ship on their way to meet D. Oswald Heist who is the author of the novel that brought Marko and Alana together. Meanwhile, The Will was dealing with the death of The Stalk and the addition of Slave Girl all while Prince Robot IV was hot on our heroes’ tails. Saga #13 does not miss a beat. Even though the series has been on a break for a few months, Saga #13 begins right where we left off. Now, I mentioned that this is one of my favorite series and if you take away anything in the heart of DC (Green Lantern or Batman for example), then this is absolutely my favorite series out there. One of the reasons I love it so much is how the story is told. We have a narrator but it’s not someone you would normally expect. The narrator is actually Hazel at an older age. She is telling us this story as she remembers it. Her attention to detail is quite good, of course. The story has been interesting from the start. We have about three distinct story lines constantly running, sometimes coming together. We have Marko and Alana’s story with Hazel, The Will’s attempts to get them and then Prince Robot IV’s chase as well. The dialogue is unique and natural. I feel like, especially in this issue, that the characters say exactly what you would expect them to say. The mature nature of the series allows the characters to become themselves and not hold back for sack of a younger audience. Since the story is unique and everything in it is made up, not of Earth, it’s amazing how well Brian K. Vaughan has been able to succinctly portray his story and universe to the reader. Even though the character’s he’s created are harsh and rough, I find myself caring about all of them in one way or another. In this issue specially, The Will is dealing with the death of The Stalk and even though he is a bounty hunter and after our heroes, I care for him. I feel badly for him and I sympathize with his loss and also his compassion for Slave Girl who he gives special attention to in this issue.
Meanwhile, Fiona Staples’ illustrations are fantastic. The world is unique, colorful, brilliant and imaginative. Something that is very important to me is facial features and detail. Staples does an incredible job with consistency and detail in this area specifically. Her attention to facial features allows the characters to portray the emotion Vaughan is writing. The combination of these aspects allows for the characters and situations to feel more real and compelling to the reader. As I said, I find myself caring for all of these primary characters and this could not be done without Staples professional, sharp and impressive artwork.
Overall, Saga #13 is a solid way for the series to return. In just thirteen issues\chapters, Brian and Fiona have put together a stunning world with compelling characters to follow. I am constantly on the edge of my seat because who knows what crazy creature, alien or situation our heroes will bump into next! This issue is really good but the series is stellar! Saga is a must read for the adult sci-fi\fantasy lovers out there. You won’t be disappointed.