Friday 19 January 2018

ReadItDaddy's YA / Grown Up Comic of the Week - Week Ending 19th January 2018 - "Saga Volume 8" by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Our YA / Grown-Ups Comic of the Week kicking off 2018 is the latest in a long-running Saga. Oh god, yes the jokes do get worse from hereon in..."Saga Volume 8" by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples...
I still have absolutely no idea how I ended up getting into Saga. I suspect that it had something to do with A) finding myself in a comic shop, B) doing that "Oh let's just choose an issue one series at random purely because of its cover art" and C) really getting sick and tired of science fiction comics being so...sucky.

In a world dominated by Marvello-DeeCee intertwining story arcs as unfathomable as spaghetti, it's at least good to know that Saga has consistently been absolutely fantastic, hugely original, extremely risque (yes this really isn't a series you want your kids going anywhere near until they're well into their teens) and kick-arsedly well and truly into delving into subjects that other comics wouldn't touch with a barge pole.

Saga Volume 8 once again kicks off with Hazel's narrative, in an ongoing "How I met your mother" storyline where she chronicles her early life, the lives of her parents and the completely insane situations they find themselves in as rebellious runaways hunted by two sides of an ongoing planetary war.

The tale opens with Alana and Prince Robot IV on a mission of some sensitivity. Alana is pregnant, but alas her child is already dead after the horrific closing scenes of Volume 7. With no choice but to  seek an abortion on a back-end planet out in the middle of nowhere, the mission goes awry after Alana and Prince Robot IV are ambushed by a bunch of nefarious hillbillies.

Alana also begins to experience bizarre side-effects of carrying her unborn child, bizarre manifestations of magic that may ultimately kill her. Unfortunately they also manifest themselves as the spirit of Hazel's unborn brother, who becomes a supernatural playmate to big sis.

Tough decisions lay ahead, and even though this volume of Saga mostly covers Alana and Marko's immediate experiences, we get a tantalising and far too short glimpse of The Will, captured by a mysterious aggressor who seems to want revenge for something - but what?

Saga relishes in "Game of Thrones" style character change-ups, either killing off or threatening to kill key characters (we still miss Lying Cat of course we do!) but maintaining a fantastic balanced cast of diverse comic characters you'll really struggle to find in anything by most large-scale publishers.

People keep asking me to describe what's so great about Saga and about the only (rather inadequate) parallels I can draw are with bizarre-o-sci-fi movies and series like Aeon Flux, Firefly, Farscape or that fantastically surreal show that really didn't get enough attention (but feels VERY much like an influence on Saga) Lexx.

It's funny, pervy, heartfelt. It's smart, twisted, dark. It's still one of the best comic series out there and it's becoming achingly painful trying to hold off picking up the monthlies rather than doing what I'm currently doing, waiting for the collected volumes each year.

If you are sick to death of superhero comics, and find most other sci fi comics a bit airless, Saga should be your first stop and volume 8 really is a return to form.