Saga is a clever title, one that I’ve been in love with since I picked up the first trade, though I think that introduction spoiled me. Brian K. Vaughan is an impressive storyteller, writing in a style that makes the reader hungry. The first trade of Saga, collecting issues one through five, begs to be read in a single sitting. But that’s my problem, Saga is currently in publication, which means that new issues are only released once a month . For a series that’s currently on its eighth chapter, 30 days is a painful wait.
Chapter eight opens with a flashback, starting at the moment when Alana and Marko first meet. It’s interesting for two reasons, the first being a reverse trope that’s pulled off with a good laugh. The second is subtle, but none the less affecting. Vaughan takes a moment to further explain the sci-fi and fantasy elements that he’s created. Specifically, the language barrier between the two main characters. It’s mentioned briefly in earlier chapters that Marko uses a special ring to communicate with Alana, but in chapter eight’s opening pages, we get to see Marko struggle to speak Alana’s language naturally. It’s actually pretty moving.
The book then jumps to the present, picking up on both Alana’s and Marko’s parallel story lines. There’s not much that happens in this issue, so far as plot progression is concerned, but that doesn’t really matter. Vaughan writes affecting scenes that between characters, developing their relationships on a surprisingly deep level.
This is all supported by Fiona Staples’ art, which I’m quickly falling in love with. She does a lot to promote Vaughan’s mix of sci-fi and fantasy, and draws photo-proportional characters that do as much to develop emotion as the writing itself.
I especially love the scenes between Alara and Marko’s father. He quickly becomes an enduring figure, transforming from aggressor to grandfather through a series of small gestures. When Alara awakens after the events of Chapter Seven, she finds a set of brand new clothes. Marko’s father is an armorer, and has begun using the ship’s materials to make magically protected clothes for everyone. Like I said before, not much happens by way of plot, but when Marko’s father reveals that he is making these clothes to protect his family after he’s gone, miles are traveled by way of character development.
For an issue that’s all together quiet, Chapter Eight is still a lot of fun. The world that Vaughan has created in Saga is one of the most original and engaging in modern comics.