Saga is Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples' magnificent, visually stunning, adventurous, funny, raunchy, complex and provocative graphic novel; the first six volumes of collected comics moved from strength to strength, fleshing out a universe that was simultaneously surreal and deadly serious, where cute characters could have deadly-serious lives: now, with volume 7, Staples and Vaughan continue their unbroken streak of brilliance.

You know that bit at the start of The Princess Bride where the narrator's father (or grandfather, in the movie) is selling the book to the young boy? All the virtues he enumerates? "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."

That's Saga for you. Volume 7 fleshes out some of the series' best villains (Prince Robot is such a perfect, well-rounded baddie now!); introduces an entire new species of fatalistic weasels as well as impossibly vast, planet-eating babies; gives us vengeance and bravery; comeuppance and self-sacrifice; and heart-ripping tragedies.

Saga feels like it's hitting the balance George Lucas got so horribly wrong with his three prequels: mixing real politics (and realpolitik) with fast-paced adventure and some of the most eyeball-kicking visuals this side of Mos Eisley Cantina (or Metal Hurlant). Vaughan is nominally the writer and Staples the illustrator, but from Vaughan's own descriptions, I know that Staples is really best thought of as a co-writer, and the collaboration is so very fruitful.

I know that it's hard to imagine jumping into a series that's already produced seven collected volumes, but if there's one thing Staples and Vaughan keep proving, it's that this is a series that will repay your investment of time and attention.

Saga Volume 7 [Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples/Image Comics]

Previous reviews:

Volumes 1/2 (2013)

Volume 3 (2014)

Volume 4 (2014)

Volume 5 (2015)

Volume 6 (2016)