Review - Saga #3

There's something off-putting about ghosts that has just about any race a little spooked. There are instances though where ghosts can prove helpful, as in a village of ghosts raising a child. Yeah, it sounds a little strange. And it is.

Saga #3 is published by Image Comics. It's written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples and lettered by Fonografiks.

There's a lot going on in the lives of Alana and Marko. The new parents of Hazel are trapped in a forest in the middle of a war, trying to escape, with bounty hunters on their trail. There's also ghosts. Lots and lots of ghosts. Ghosts of the people who lived on the planet that has been ravaged due to the ongoing war.

Alana's devotion to Marko is inspiring, so much so that she's willing to accept a gamble from one of the ghosts named Izabel with her newborn daughter's life in order to save him. It's not as callous as it seems, but it is a bold step that isn't repaid with quite the response from Marko that Alana was expecting.

The Stalk makes a brief appearance in the issue, on the run from some of the forest's inhabitants, while The Will is at home eating cereal. The reader is even given a few pages of Prince Robot IV, still searching for the fugitives Alana and Marko.

It's easy to say that Vaughan is a fantastic writer, but even that doesn't do him justice. The dialogue in Saga #3 is just so tight and well chosen that not a single word feels wasted. The story moves along at a perfect speed, making sure not to lose you even though it moves from character to character.

Each character is also so unique it's refreshing. They all have their motivations and their limits, a good chunk of which is on display in this issue. Watching Alana at first refuse Izabel's offer only to later accept it seemed a little convenient, but she clearly loves Marko. The way Hazel narrates it make it seems that she's a much more important character than we realize and this wager is just the first in many scenarios she's faced with that prove that specialness.

Staples' art is just about as tight as Vaughan's dialogue. It's just so good. She does such a marvelous job with facial expressions and reactions that between those and the dialogue you really feel the emotional connection to the moment.

The final page is the perfect example of this, as the look on the faces really convey the surprise. There's also some cool effects with Prince Robot IV, where he uses the television screen that is his face to show emotion too (static for anger for example).

She also plays around with both black and white margins. The early scenes in the forest have black margins, which make those pages really stand out.

Fonogrfiks also deserves a mention, as the lettering is unique to the characters. It really helps the reader keep up with who's talking and what perspective their approaching the situation with, which really adds to the overall enjoyment of the comic.

The mixture of writing, art and lettering really make Saga a standout series and the third issue is no different. It captures a range of emotions: uncertainty of new parenthood, mistrust in previous allies and anger at not getting one's way. This is a storyteller's comic that is telling a great story. Frankly, if you're not reading it you're really missing out.

Saga #3 is in stores May 16 and interiors are below.