What a fantastic year it has been for comics. There have been so many quality comic books launched, re-launched, and re-booted in 2012. We’ve seen some great creative teams on some of the best-loved characters from DC and Marvel. Independent, creator driven publishers have also thrived this year. Valiant comics have had a creatively rich year and Image Comics has just gone off the scale.
The list of really high quality titles released by Image this year is long, and several of those titles have earned the accolade of Comic of The Week here at GeeksUnleashed.
One title from Image that has stood out above the rest is Saga. It has been Comic of The Week three times, with issues 5, 6 and 7 all earning top spot in the respective weeks they were released. It really does seem like it is on a different plane of existence to most other comic books on the shelves.
I have almost run out of words to describe how good Saga is. But, for the sake of this review I’m going to find some more. Thankfully Brian K Vaughan hasn’t run out of words, and he keeps producing instalments of Saga which are expertly plotted, funny and emotionally engaging, with beautifully scripted dialogue. Every character in this comic book is well-rounded, unique and a breath of fresh air among the choking, clogged-up mainstream comics that fill the shelves.
Vaughan’s words would not be half as effective if they were not brought so fantastically to life by the wonderful artwork of Fiona Staples. Her work on Saga has been nothing short of revelatory. Her use of colour is brilliant, her line work is detailed and expressive. The characters are rendered with a warmth that you don’t always expect and the feelings and thoughts the characters are having can be seen in the expressions Staples draws, which is astounding.
In issue 8 we see the first meeting between Marko and Alana, which is unexpectedly violent and brilliantly told by Vaughan and Staples.
What I love about this issue is the interplay between Marko’s parents and the newly-wedded couple. What is surprising is that Alana and Barr, Marko’s father, develop a close bond in a short space of time; surprising given the nature of their first meeting and the fact that Barr performs a spell on Alana to sedate her.
The touching nature of Alana and Barr’s relationship is juxtaposed with the fractious between Marko and his mother. Marko has to defend his relationship with Alana to his disapproving mother. A situation I identified with perhaps a little too closely.
One of the most upsetting things about issue 8 is the continued presence of Fard. Fard is disgusting and Vaughan and Staples need to take a long hard look at themselves. Fard must be one of the most disgusting creations ever committed to the pages of a comic book. It made me feel nauseated. Well done.
The final page is a striking introduction to Marko’s ex Gwendolyn. She looks fearsome and ready to bring all kinds of Hell to proceedings. I can’t wait to see more of her.
Quite simply if I could only read one comic book each month, Saga would be that comic book. And that is coming from a huge Batman fan. The thought of a situation where I could only read one comic book a month is very upsetting so I’m going to forget I had that thought.
Saga is one of the best comic books to be released this year and for my money it is getting better with every issue. The fact that Vaughan and Staples show no signs of letting the quality of the book slip at all is mind-blowing.
So if you haven’t yet read Saga go, now, to your local comic book shop and buy the back issues or the trade, whatever you can get your hands on, and read it. Because you have to.
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