Saga is back from another hiatus which means it’s time to add it back to our stacks of monthly comics to anticipate and enjoy. It’s also the 25th issue, which is a nice quarterly number we can all dig, but is it good?
Saga #25 (Image Comics)
This issue is a decent starting point for anyone who hasn’t read a previous issue, but you will definitely lose the emotional impact of it all if this is your first issue. The comic is all about a baby named Hazel, born from a mother and a father of warring cultures, who narrates the series from the future. Marko and Alana are the parents and they quickly have learned love is not going to be the only thing that can make it work. In fact, they’ve quickly grown apart since escaping the clutches of a TV-headed alien and due to Alana’s drug addiction and Marko’s drifting away emotionally they’re basically done with each other. And then a guy has to come along and kidnap the baby! This issue opens where the last issue left off.
Oh sure, make your mess everyone else’s!
It’s clear writer Brian K. Vaughan is coming back from the hiatus focused on touching base with most of the characters. Instead of diving right in, though, he gives us five pages exploring the war that brought Marko and Alana together in the first place. In many respects it’s a commentary on war in general as he speaks to who typically fights the wars and the senselessness of it all. It’s used as a way to introduce readers to the stakes of the story and just as the story cuts to the characters he juxtaposes it giving the reader context in regards to the characters. It’s a sweet way to open the story in an efficient and emotionally impactful way.
The state of the characters is interesting, particularly because the character dynamics are all over the place. What we knew is now changed and only a few days at most have passed. Marko is teaming up with a guy who tried to kill him for issues on end, Alana is detoxing and worried about her child and Marko’s ex is on a mission to acquire dragon semen. Yikes. The story bounces from each story rather quickly, but it’s by no means short or cheap because of it. This is partly due to Vaughan using Hazel’s narration to foreshadow aspects of the story. A scene might not progress the plot much, but a simple sentence from Hazel’s narration adds a lot of gravity to the situation since she knows what is going to happen to the story.
So many types.
The art by Fiona Staples is fantastic, and really, is there anyone better at drawing facial expressions for animals? One of the strengths of this series has always been the weird aliens and gross-out situations characters find themselves in and we get one of those scenes here too. I won’t ruin it, but it may involve alien waste, and it might just rival the giant ballsack scene. After reading this issue I wonder if anyone has praised her enough on her backgrounds. They look like they were done digitally and have a hazy feel to them, as if they were out of focus. This of course gives the comic a cinematic quality but also a dreamlike style as well. Since this entire story is being narrated by future Hazel I wonder if that’s on purpose, as if this entire series was a flashback. Either way, it’s a cool effect and enhances the read.
War is hell. Also dinosaur-ific!
Is It Good?
A good first issue that has some great moments, checks in with all the main characters and even includes an inappropriate alien moment. Hooray!