I am fully aware that this comic is loved by many, many people. I know that it has the appeal to reach wide audiences. I also know that it's not the worst comic to ever have been created. This review is here to point out the reasons why I, myself, did not connect with it as a reader. However, I am in the minority here. Loads of people love this comic and if you love it, too, that's great! I just, personally, found some problems with it that kept me from fully enjoying the comic.
I'm sure I don't have to talk about what Saga is about. So many people have talked about it enough that, at this point, it's redundant to say it's plot. Put briefly, it's a Romeo and Juliet type story where two different, warring alien species fall in love, have a baby together, and must flee their home worlds since their love is forbidden. That premise sounds pretty good. It's a classic tale of forbidden love with aliens and space thrown in! I really like the idea of that. However, I was not a fan of the execution.
The dialogue felt forced. As if they were written to be in some poorly made sitcom for "edgy" people. There's a part where Alana, female lead, says "I was stupid to think we could ever outrun this retarded fucking war!" That doesn't sound like something a military official, an adult, would say. Yeah, I understand she's supposed to be your non-typical military official. She's supposed to be tough and a "badass," but I didn't get that by the way she talked. Neither did I see the "charm" to her lover, Marko. He's supposed to be the softer side to Alana rough and, yes, he is. But what bothered me the most is that he's still written as a "typical" man. Alana is capable of defending herself, or at least the narrative wants the reader to believe that, yet he still has to come to her rescue multiple times. But you can excuse it because Alana has just given birth. She is not in her top form. Fair enough. However, what I cannot forgive (and we're going to go into spoiler territory so skip the rest of this paragraph if you don't want to know what happens in this comic) is the fact that he's apparently engaged with another woman, even though he's married to Alana, and he never told Alana about this other woman, even though he's madly in love with Alana. Look, that is just shit you DO NOT DO! If you're not in a polyamorous relationships, you don't keep a relationship that's still on-going a secret from your significant other. That's wrong! And Alana just forgave him! She questioned him a little bit about it, but she just let it go. What? Why? This is the father of your baby! Shouldn't you have a few more questions than that? Ugh... I don't know. The comic is fast-paced so I suppose you can't dwell on topics like borderline CHEATING for long. Still, it pissed me off to read about.
Not to mention I felt a lot of what they said was crude for no actual purpose. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind crude jokes or sex in the media I consume. But it felt like in Saga there was no purpose to it. I don't understand why in an advance society, we are reduced to slut-shaming, pedophilia, and misogyny yet no one seemed to put a stop to it. It's all seen as very normal in this advance, futuristic society. How is it that there has been no progress in that front? Yeah, this also goes for how they treat inter-species/inter-racial relationships, too. But it just irks me to read how the women are treated so poorly in this comic. And seeing a six-year-old girl being sold into being a sex slave really left a sour taste in my mouth. Yeah, it's somewhat "handled" but that doesn't mean I don't have problems with how this is apparently "normal" in this world.
Really the only good thing about this comic is the art. Fiona Staples did an incredible job bringing this world to life! I love how in some panels the colors are just so vibrant! And the character designs are amazing! I also loved seeing the different designs to the different alien species. The backgrounds are fully detailed and really helps you to visualize the type of universe these characters are in. Incredible art all around. I wouldn't mind buying a print from Staples, her art is that amazing!
As I've said before, these are just some of the things that bugged me about this comic. I know not everyone is going to feel the same way. If you really enjoyed this comic, I think that's awesome! I can see why it's gotten so much praise as it did. But for me, it left a lot to be desire. The premise was good but the execution was lacking. I am not opposed to reading other works by Brain K. Vaughan, but I think I'll be skipping the rest of Saga for now.