It’s been a few months since we here in Adventures in Poor Taste covered Saga, so let’s change that. We are in the final third of the latest arc.
Is it good?
Saga #29 (Image Comics)
So the Last Revolution is negotiating with the Wreath High to exchange Hazel for a bunch of their men that are currently being locked up, when suddenly the plan goes south and Dengo finds himself on the wrong side. Prince Robot IV and Marko try to escape from the Androids searching for Robot and things go south quickly. Meanwhile, The Brand, Sophie, and the others reach their dragon and are ready to collect its sperm. However, more things go badly.
After reading all of the current issues available for this arc in one go, I have to say things have been underwhelming lately in Saga, with this issue a culmination of its various problems: Lackluster character moments, characters doing stupid things, boring villains, constant depression (no one is happy in this comic anymore, not remotely), and the story having moments that make you want to facepalm. It’s not awful per se and this arc had a moment or two, but everything just feels so tired and the title is in sore need of a kick in the butt to get moving. And by that I mean in a natural, interesting way and not in the “shocking,” annoying way this comic ended up doing.
I would have guessed patience, but I could see that answer being in the top three at least.
Let’s start with the stories. One of them that seems to be wrapping up is the Revolutionaries storyline, but it’s playing out in predictable fashion. The characters who everyone said were bad and gave all sorts of vibes of being bad ended up being (surprise) bad, and Dengo had to step up to save the day, realizing his mistake he should have seen coming. It plays out like you expect it would and given the fact that the villains were not particularly interesting or fleshed out, seeing them get defeated is not all that satisfying but more of a relief in that we can finally start moving past them and onto better things. With Robot and Marko, (who we only get three pages of), things do surprisingly move forward a lot and were actually intriguing. One thing in particular was that it seemed like Prince Robot IV was injured very badly (it sorts of looks like he got impaled, but the artwork makes it look more like the object is in the background), but I do not see much coming from it because it would be kind of a waste for Brain K. Vaughan to just kill him off in such a lackluster way and after really not exploring the dynamics of this character and Marko being around each other.
However, probably the biggest and most important thing that went down was with the team after the dragon’s sperm. (Editor’s Note: Put preceding sentence on all resumes. Collect $$$ immediately as employer hands over company.) The characters basically find what they are looking for, but in a very idiotic move where Sophie tries to snatch some of the substance… she gets The Brand killed and Gwendolyn gravely injured. Honestly, this whole scene feels very poorly handled and contrived. I get Sophie having some guilt about putting The Will into a coma, but it’s an area that hasn’t been explored or focused on all that much this arc, so that guilt isn’t built up enough. As such, it’s really hard to buy this girl doing something so incredibly dangerous and insane when The Brand told her not to. It feels more like the writer is making her do this instead of something natural the character would do. Second is that the scene where they discover the dragon, which opens up with the creature giving itself a blowjob. At this point in Saga, such scenes are no longer really all that shocking and come across as either desperate by the writer trying to shock the readers, annoying because the creative team is wasting pages that could be used for something more interesting or towards character development or just plain juvenile (really hard to take this comic seriously with scenes like that). Finally there is The Brand being killed. Honestly, this whole scene reeks of a character being killed off for shock value and nothing more. The death doesn’t do anything to progress the story, other than to make Sophie more miserable and maybe harden her up (which has been done better), and it ultimately wastes the character. We never really explored that past of this character nor did it feel like the writer did that much with her, outside of some small bits early on. While I wasn’t a fan of said character, it frustrates me to see a writer wasting something or someone with potential.
Nothing like a good fashion sweeping statement.
The tone of the book is just kind of miserable at this point, with the situation always desperate and trouble always beating down on the characters. It’s an exhausting storyline and while the last arcs were clearly not always sunshine and lollipops, they at least knew when to interject some brightness and fun.
The artwork by Fiona Staples has some minor flaws, but looks good for the most part. The layouts are good and easy to follow overall, but a bit on the bland side. The characters look fine and are depicted well, though you can’t help but notice some lackluster facial expressions at times that just look more silly and off-putting than they should be. The coloring was nice and vibrant in area as well. Some scenes have some odd issues (like how a character teleported from one spot to the next without even being seen by the characters), but it’s not often. Nothing here really drags the book down too much and you can at least expect the usual quality you come to expect from the series in this department.
What’s wrong with your face ma’am?!
Is It Good?
Saga #29 is a disappointment. It finally wraps up one storyline that wasn’t that interesting while ending another in a very unsatisfying and poor manner. Combined with writing and characterization that isn’t up to speed, this is easily one of the weakest issues of the series to date. Unless the last issue somehow redeems everything, I can’t help but foresee this being one story arc everyone is going to speed through when they reread the series in the future.