Oh the glee! Don’t you just love that feeling when you read (or watch) the first in a series, enjoy yourself thoroughly and get to anticipate everything you have still to read (or watch)? I’m wallowing in that feeling right now. After finally buying volume one of Saga at the end of last year (thanks to Dragons and Zombies making it sound exactly like something I’d want to read – you can read her thoughts here, here and here on the first three volumes) and being all in a hurry to get on with it, I only picked it up and actually read it last week.
And, finally, I saw that it was good.
With nine volumes out so far, and Vaughan and Staples apparently on hiatus at the moment, I stand a chance of catching up a little. This first volume barely scratches the surface of the story I’m sure, but if it’s anything to go by then I have a lot of feelings to come. So far, I know that there is a planet (Landfall) and its moon (Wreath), and the people that live on these two worlds have been at war forever. I know that the people of Landfall have wings and guns. I know that the people of Wreath have horns and magic swords/staffs/spells. And I know that Alana (who has wings) is in love with Marko (who has horns) and they’ve just brought their daughter into the world, the adorably winged and horned baby Hazel, who is telling the story. And I know that a lot of dangerous people, for a variety of no doubt stupid reasons, want to destroy this little family.
I love Staples’ expressive, colourful, dynamic artwork and Vaughan’s excellent, often very funny, writing. Between them they’re creating a universe that is diverse, massive, and bat-crap insane. Not only do we have horned and winged peoples, we have a Clive Barker-ish bounty hunter with an armless female head and chest, spider abdomen and some seriously gothic style, a giant turquoise cat that can detect lies, and some sort of royal family who have TV screens instead of heads and are all called Robot, (and I’m pretty sure that one of them is suffering from a severe case of PTSD). And I haven’t even mentioned the Horrors: the pink swirly ghost-children who’re all casualties of the war on the planet Cleave. Or the big-ass spaceship-tree that can’t be steered … holy cow.
I know I’m going to love Alana and Marko more than I love them now. Alana is fiercely protective of her husband and baby daughter and happy to carry a gun. Marko is a magic-using conscientious objector just as devoted to his small family, but trying hard not to use violence (for good reason, it would seem). The two of them have that lovely back and forth that all the best couples have; and while they are clearly past the getting-to-know-you, still-brushing-my-teeth-way-more-than-normal stage of their relationship, they’re not yet at the know-everything-about-you, wearing-the-same-pants-I’ve-worn-for-the-past-nine-years stage. They’ve still got spark. And what’s clear from the very beginning is that they are in it together, whatever it is and wherever it takes them. In her little asides Hazel has already told us that she survives to become an old woman, but I feel that the real story is going to be whether her parents will survive her upbringing and survive it together.
I am absolutely here for that.
(Here beginneth a mini rant: Alana and Marko are clearly both adults with past relationships under their belts who have grown to love one another. Yet it keeps getting likened to Romeo and Juliet out in the webbyverse. The story of Romeo and Juliet is that of young teens experiencing the first flush of sexual awakening with all the over-the-top-ness that comes with it. Shakespeare’s most ‘romantic’ play is anything but, it’s a play about lust and stupidity and the hot-headedness of youth and romance has got bugger all to do with it. Go read it again and then tell me it’s the greatest love story ever told. I dare you.
So I am always a little annoyed when what I think of as a real romance is likened to those two idiots. Yes, I know R&J are used as a shorthand for two people from opposing sides who fall in love, but can we find another example, please? It’s just not accurate enough for me. And the term ‘star-crossed’ isn’t accurate for Alana and Marko either … or at least, not yet.
Here endeth my rant. Normal service shall now resume).