Comic Review: Saga #2
Artist: Fiona Staples
When I read the first issue of Saga, I was taken aback how modern the slang and voice patterns were. I was expecting something slightly more Shakespearean. Not necessarily Ye Olde English, but at least a universal sound. It was jarring at first, but I understand now. It is as if Quentin Tarantino wrote a sci-fi/fantasy except without the cool soundtrack or pop culture references. Despite all the curse words and talk of apps and what-not, there is a level of poeticism, especially in the narration.
The story opens up with the mercenary who was put on the trail of the star-crossed lovers in the first issue checking in with his “agent,” a very funky looking alien sitting behind the desk. He learns a new merc has been sent after the couple, and he bows out after hearing who it is. We jump to Alana and Marko fighting off some tentacle-esque vines that are currently stringing them up. They eventually escape and they finally nod off having not slept in quite a long time even though they are worried about the legendary horrors that reside in the Endless Forest. When they wake up, they are confronted by the new merc, The Stalk.
The Stalk represents something about Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga that bears repeating. She is a striking creature. Basically, if you take a sexy woman, make her stark white, remove her arms, give her a prehensile tongue and four pairs archanid eyes, you are close to understanding the bizarre appearance of The Stalk. That is not even taking into account what she has hiding under her giant skirt. I’ll leave that for you to see on your own. Unfortunately, her bizarre appearance writes a check that she can’t cash. Her first encounter with the couple is mostly anti-climactic, at least for her. She is scared away by The Horrors, which again in the style which Vaughn is writing this in, are not what they seem to be.
Saga just gets stranger and stranger with every bizarre turn and character that it introduces. It borders on being overwhelming as far as how odd the occupants of this reality appear, but it rests firmly on a backbone of organization. Smack dab in the middle of the issue is a visit to those weird TV-headed robots who serve as both military and royalty. While much of the information still seems withheld, they obviously represent an ever expanding empire acting out their own manifest destiny. The geek shorthand would be they are what The Alliance is to The ‘Verse (I’m sure you won’t have to Google it). The most interesting detail finally revealed to them is that one of those TV’s they have for heads turned on showing a very nightmarish image of a blood-red twisted face screaming while the dialog from the particular character seemed to stay calm and collected. This is also briefly pointed out by a winged guard as if it was a strange thing to see, I am interested to see what kind of creative ways Vaughn is going to use it in the future.
Saga as a series is a really bizarre project to describe. I described the first issue as a hodge podge of geek content mixing sci-fi and fantasy with a lot of modern characterization. I still cannot rightfully describe I think, but the influences are definitely starting to show themselves. Quentin Tarantino. Joss Whedon. David Cronenberg. And it works because it is not just some endless homage to everything geek, but a stable story aligned with all the great things us geeks love about imaginative stories. Still weird though!