Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday Comics: Saga #1

For awhile now I've heard great things about Brian K. Vaughn's Saga.  Whenever someone brought it up, they talked about how bold and exciting it is.

Since I was behind in the story, I was going to wait for the trade paperback.  But then Image reprinted the first issue and it was on sale for $1.00.  How could I pass that up?  I purchased it, got home and finally read the book that everyone was buzzing about.

And I hate it.



Hate this book.

Let me begin by saying that I love Brian K. Vaughn's Runaways.  That is one of the comics that I give to people who don't read comics but want to start.  That series was scary and funny and smart.  It was a story with unforeseen twists and excellent character development.  And it was just a lot of fun (when not being heart-wrenching).

But I was not a fan of Y: the Last Man.  I got about half-way through the series when I realized that I didn't care about any of the main character or their quests.  It all seemed so pointless to me.  Not only that, but the series was needlessly vulgar.

And Saga is much more Y than Runaways.

The story has often been described as an intergalactic Romeo and Juliet.  That is a very polite way to put it.  The drama centers around Alana and Marko.  Alana is a winged inhabitant of a technologically advanced sci-fi planet.  Marko is a horn-headed denizen of a magical world that is at war with Alana's.  The two fall in love and have a baby.  In fact, the birth is the first scene of the comic.  The opening is a splash page close up of Alana as she says:

"Am I [expletive for poop]ing?  It feels like I'm [expletive for poop]ing."

Beginings are important.  Beginnings matter.  The end depends upon the beginning.  And this beginning is crap [literally].  Vaughn wants to shock you with how edgy he is by using potty language and graphic sex between people with televisions for heads (don't ask).

Allow a digression: this is exactly the problem with the new trend I see in modern fantasy and sci-fi.  Take George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones the TV show).  People are praising it as bold because of its graphic language, violence, nudity, and sex.  All of these things are noticeably absent from classics like Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Lord of the Rings.  Yes, this does make them different.  But if I'm being honest, they are DISTRACTIONS from the story, not enhancements.  Aragorn would not be cooler if he cussed.  Star Wars would not be improved if we saw Han and Leia make the beast with two backs.

And Saga's graphic nature is repellent   I was so distracted by it that I couldn't care about what was happening.  I don't mind R-Rated content, but it has to make sense for the story and not feel like a gimmick.
I know Vaughn thinks that all of this essential to the story.  But I don't buy it.

The one compelling thing is the fact that the story is told in flashback with their grown up baby narrating the events that happen.  That is a powerful story device, but it is lost in all of the muck.

I am not advocating any kind of censorship.  He can tell whatever kind of story he wants.

But he'll do so without me as a reader.

1/2 out of 5 stars

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