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Saga was so recommended all over the internet and at my local comics store that I couldn't have avoided buying it. I had read a bit of Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan before and liked it, so I had high expectations for this one.
The story follows an unlikely couple - Alana, from the planetary forces long at war with a moon and with vestigial "fairy" wings; Marko, horned as a faun, spellcaster, soldier of the moon's army, renounced violence and surrendered to the enemy and meeting Alana while imprisioned - and starts off with Alana giving birth to their daughter.
After this, we are right away thrown into an interplanetary escape, unavoidable fights and talks about the child's name. But this is at the same time the central focus of the plot and an excuse for the author to show the limits of his imagination. From professional assassins for hire, one with too many legs (beware arachnophobia) and other with a cat that works as a lie detector, a legendary spaceship forest to ghosts that are supposed to defend their planet and a royal family with television sets for heads, one cannot guess what is going to appear next in the world of Saga. It includes a typical element of these stories, the fact that one side of the war uses magic and the other is more tech-savy, which, depending on how it is developed or kept as background, might become or totally diverge from the cliché. If the first part is any indication, it's going to be worth paying attention. But it's not only of this blending of fantasy and science fiction and forbidden loves that Saga lives. Right on the first volume, the author has no trouble handling problems such as belief, tradition, war from the soldier following orders point of view, the ease with which one kills when weapons are accessible and even sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
The art is phenomenal, both in terms of the drawing and the colours. The characters have personality, facial and body expressions that couldn't do better storytelling. The illustration of the worlds, the multiple places and planets, is rich and varied and helps trick the mind into believing we are really travelling through space. The magic is subtly added to scenes, making it more credible than the lightning and sparking on might be used to and sick of. The fact that some spells need odd unpredictable ingredients (and I'm not talking about mushrooms or crystals or such typical stuff) makes the whole setting more plausible. As the starting point of a series - the first six numbers - mixing magic, sci-fi, genuine characters with funny remarks, interracial sex, unpredictable places and relevant themes, I can't really ask for more. I'll definitely buy the next volume as soon as possible.
This review was originally published in portuguese and english on my blog.