4. Saga (Image Comics)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
A few years ago it was almost impossible to think that writer Brian K. Vaughan had it in him to create a series that could top his cult classic Vertigo book, Y: The Last Man. After only eight issues, though, Saga is looking like a serious contender to do just that. Revolving around the forbidden romance between a man and woman from warring species, Saga is a space opera that focuses on their fugitive lifestyle after the authorities on both sides learn that the two have a child together.
Deftly blending humor, heart, and plenty of sci-fi oddities, this book continues to carry the banner for truly imaginative comic storytelling that proves you can succeed without relying on pre-established franchises. Comic book writers are notorious for treating romances like a burden, but Vaughan brings so much care and believability to Marko and Alana’s relationship that their dynamic has become our favorite in the industry. It’s impressive to note that in a title where space battles and futuristic action go down in every issue, Vaughan manages to make the Romeo and Juliet-esque love story the most interesting part of the book.
It also helps that Saga is expertly brought to life, thanks to artist Fiona Staples. Her style isn’t gaudy like a blockbuster movie. There’s lyrical quality in the way she crafts this world. Shots of mammoth spaceships and visceral battle scenes are delicately counterbalanced with heartfelt character moments and the type of romantic comedy found in Woody Allen's early work. Her line work is superb and her ability to craft action sequences is always top-notch, but it’s in her storytelling ability where she separates herself from the pack.
The way Staples brings emotions out of her characters is unrivaled, in our opinion, and it’s her subtlety and nuance that brings Saga to life.