The saga con­tin­ues

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LEISURE - Saga KALEON RA­HAN

(Alaf 21/Comix 21) (RM12) Script: Fairul Nizam Artists: Zu­raizee Zulk­i­fli, Ak­mal Aziz As­mawi, Ad­i­fitri Ah­mad and Nor Salim

Ttagline would most likely pro­vide most of us with a sense of déjà vu.

In­spired by Im­age Comics’ The Ride, which fo­cused on the im­pact of a 1968 Ca­maro and its life-al­ter­ing ef­fects, Saga of­fers us a story with Malaysian feel.

Satu Per­mu­laan, the first tale takes us back to 1985 when the Saga eu­pho­ria be­gan. Cap­tured from a kam­pung set­ting, a school teacher WENTY-five years have passed but I can still clearly re­mem­ber my first en­counter with the na­tional car. Then, with all me­dia chan­nels (three TV and nu­mer­ous ra­dio sta­tions) blar­ing praises over our coun­try’s de­but in the au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try, just eye­balling a Pro­ton Saga on the road was enough to give me pa­tri­otic goose­bumps.

While it took me two years to phys­i­cally feel the Saga’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties, some­how the nu­mer­ous school as­sign­ments re­lat­ing to the car al­ready made me feel as if I owned one.

While I’m sure the car touches the nation in dif­fer­ent ways, most of us will not have the op­por­tu­nity to share or voice our two cents worth about it ... un­like the four “proud own­ers” fea­tured in this neatly wo­ven to­gether sto­ry­line (with four tales).

Whether you are a car-ad­dict, a pa­triot or just some­one who needs a car to get from point A to B, the Satu Kereta. Em­pat Cerita. Ten­tang Kita, be­comes the talk of the vil­lage cour­tesy of own­ing a Saga. While his joy and ex­cite­ment is shared by oth­ers, their de­gree of sat­is­fac­tion dif­fers es­pe­cially when some are just con­tented not be­ing be­hind the wheels. The life-al­ter­ing moment comes when an in­no­cent by­stander be­comes the Saga’s vic­tim. As a con­so­la­tion, the in­ci­dent does put an end to the an­noy­ing “why did the chicken cross the road?” rid­dle.

Next is Si Bu­dak Ber­tuah, which cap­tures the ma­te­ri­al­is­tic na­ture of to­day’s brats. Meet Siew Mei, a teenager who has yet to earn a sin­gle sen in wages but is blessed by her par­ents’ gen­eros­ity.

While most of us at that age would have com­pro­mised with a bike, Siew Mei’s bi­as­ness to­wards a par­tic­u­lar for­eign brand makes her “al­ler­gic” to a sec­ond­hand Saga (no prizes for guess­ing who they bought this car from). Throw in a love in­ter­est and a car-jack­ing in­ci­dent and this tale of­fers an in­ter­est­ing re­cap of to­day’s youth prob­lems.

The third tale, Rom­pakan Ber­agam of­fers the dark-side of the same Saga’s jour­ney as its new “own­ers” have das­tardly plans for their ride. A gang of “cos­play­ers” make their great es­cape af­ter pock­et­ing some moolah! While the po­lice are rather un­lucky in ap­pre­hend­ing the crooks, they re­ceive a boost from an un­ex­pected as­sis­tant named “Karma”.

The events come a full cir­cle in Garisan Pe­na­mat, which dou­bles as a happy end­ing for the much-trav- elled Saga and of­fers clo­sure to the lead char­ac­ters.

In Fast & Fu­ri­ous fashion, the true po­ten­tial of the Saga is un­veiled and it re­flects the usual ret­ri­bu­tion of­fered in most good ver­sus evil tales.

Over­all, Saga is an ex­cel­lent piece of work that jus­ti­fies its price tag.

I have to note that this ef­fort orig­i­nated as a last minute en­try in the 2006 MSC Malaysia In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Cre­ators Chal­lenge Se­ries.

De­spite the short time frame then, the end re­sult here show that the right fine-tun­ing has been done sub­se­quently.

On the cre­ative team, Fairul’s done a good job in knit­ting the plots to­gether plus steer­ing the artists based on their strengths. My next ride in a Saga is cer­tainly go­ing to feel dif­fer­ent. Writer: Artist: IT’S been a long time since I had the urge to holler “Yo Joe!” de­spite the avalanche of re­leases by IDW and the re­cent box-of­fice out­ing. Iron­i­cally, the urge came with this “trib­ute” to the most iconic G.I. Joe tale – The Silent In­ter­lude/Is­sue.

Orig­i­nally fea­tured in is­sue #21 (Mar­vel, 1984), the “word-less” tale stands out (in my opin­ion) as the most mem­o­rable story in Joe-folk­lore as it fea­tured the most pop­u­lar Joe (Snake Eyes) on a solo mis­sion to res­cue Scar­lett from De­stro’s cas­tle.

While Snake Eyes was the cen­tre of at­ten­tion from cover to the last panel, an­other rea­son why this tale is worth a for­tune is that it also sports the de­but of Storm Shadow. An at­tempt to up the ante was done in G.I. Joe Year­book #3 with “Hush Job” (iron­i­cally) do­ing a role-re­ver­sal as Storm Shadow and Scar­lett team up on a solo mis­sion to res­cue Snake Eyes. While there are a host of other “silent is­sues” that comes to mind (Mar­vel’s 9/11-in­spired Nuff Said! event), G.I. Joe #21 is some­thing else al­to­gether.

This month’s “re­visit” might just be the tonic to re­vive in­ter­est in “Amer­ica’s Great­est He­roes” as well as pro­vide that much needed dose of nostal­gia.

With the cover a cheeky trib­ute by Ashley Wood to the 1984 clas­sic, that is as far as sim­i­lar­i­ties with the orig­i­nal go. No res­cue mis­sion, no Scar­lett and no Storm Shadow – but this is­sue en­sures an­other re­mark­able mute-out­ing for Snake Eyes and comics scribe Larry Hama (who also wrote the orig­i­nal).

Af­ter three years with­out any G.I. Joe ad­ven­tures, I had no clue as to who the other char­ac­ters were in this stand-alone tale. But the sight of Snake Eyes in free-fall mode, slic­ing and dic­ing some non-Co­bra goons in a win­ter set­ting is sim­ply mag­nif­i­cent.

Any­way, this be­ing an “Ori­gins” ti­tle, I pre­sume the wolf fea­tured here is Tim­ber (Snake Eyes’ side­kick) as the tale shares the un­told events of their first meet­ing. It doesn’t take much to di­gest and ap­pre­ci­ate this is­sue. Hama delivers a fit­ting se­quel to his 1980s ef­fort while Ben­itez’s art is sim­ply spell­bind­ing. Now if only they do a Snake Eyes movie. Yo Joe!

(IDW)(US$3.99) Larry Hama Joe Ben­itez

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