I have a confession to make, I never finished Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man or Ex Machina. These were two series whose initial runs I had missed but was collecting the hardcover deluxe editions of. When I started cutting back my hours at work to focus on college the money I would spend on comics was either going towards college or my ever growing book collection.
Sage was a series I have heard nothing but praise for since its inception but had put off reading it for one reason or another. It was constantly on my wishlists for Christmas and birthday gifts but never received. It wasn’t until another book loving friend who’s opinion I highly respect pushed me to read it that I purchase the deluxe hardcover edition.
Let’s throw out those catch all comparisons people usually do with stuff like this: It’s reminiscent of Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Firefly. It’s like Warren Ellis meets Iain M. Banks meets Neil Gaiman. Forget all that. It’s fucking great and you should read it.
First off, the plot: Two people from warring species fall in love and have a baby then are on the run from the people they betrayed. Simple right? Well, Vaughan takes this and turns it into this expansive world without having to spend too much time on exposition. All the new places, creatures, cultures, and objects are given to us without sidetracking the story but Vaughan sells it with his crisp writing and Fiona Staples destroys it with her art.
Seriously, I can’t praise Fiona Staples’s art enough. The people in this book come in all shapes and sizes. I’m talking about people with horns, spiderlegs, one eye, wings, green skin, and televisions for heads but they never stop feeling like real people. For me at least there is no suspension of disbelief. Everything in it so far that I’ve read feels real despite being different from my own and when Staples isn’t selling it with his art Vaughan is doing it with his dialogue.
The characters talk like people talk now, or at least a heightened version of how we talk now that comes in storytelling. It isn’t just how they talk but what they talk about. Sex, love, different cultures, intimacy, money, youth, age, wisdom, and parenting are all mixed in with this crazy space opera / fantasy adventure.
Besides Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals I haven’t been this excited or engaged reading a comic book in a long time. I highly recommend you read it.
Images by Fiona Staples