One thing’s for sure about Saga: it’s turned into one hell of a…well, saga. We’ve followed a variety of characters over years now and even seen a baby grow up to be a pre teen. Throughout this journey we’ve seen a lot of deaths and surprises (and a whole lot of full frontal nudity). Really every issue has one of the three which keeps me coming back just to see how Brian K. Vaughan will shock us next. But is it good?
Saga #33 (Image Comics)
We’ve recently come back from hiatus (this book takes breaks so the artist can catch up) and last issue learned a lot about what Marko and Alana have been up to. They’re attempting to find their daughter Hazel who we know is in prison and still harbors her secret of being both races. This issue kicks off with—and is all about—Upsher and Doff, the tabloid journalists who were hot on the tail of Marko and Alana’s secret when The Brand told them to back off or die. The threat has been recently lifted and this issue focuses on them taking the case back on.
Why does this book matter?
It’s no secret this is one of the best books on the stands due to its ability to handle adult themes while mixing in fantastic science fiction. Plus, artist Fiona Staples consistently delivers solid art filled with fantastic character acting and solid backgrounds.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Upsher and Doff have not been in this series for quite a while and yet Vaughan makes you love them again almost instantly. I have to wonder if they’re based on real people because their personalities jive very well and they’re both truly unique. Upsher has an infectious amount of energy and rightfully so, as he’s the writer and the one who seeks out the stories. Doff is the photographer and together they make up a solid relationship. They’re clearly in love with their work, but also each other and that’s convenient for them. This relationship allows the story to hum along as we soak in the characters and ride their wave.
Which, of course, is them following leads to find Marko and Alana. We know each step they take based on the last volume but it’s a nice recap none the less. The fact that it isn’t boring is thanks to Vaughan making these characters and the characters they interact with likeable and interesting. Take their boss, who’s your typical grump who’s sick of the shenanigans. He’s good for a laugh because of the dynamic between them. Or take a girl that once knew Marko. She’s chipper and fun but also well aware of their actions. On top of this is the story they’re trying to uncover and the meaning behind it. Being gay, they understand the prejudice and hate and it’s a great motivator to reveal Marko and Alana’s story as it could get rid of a lot of hate in the galaxy.
Of course there are shock moments in this issue and they don’t disappoint. There are actually two major moments that’ll get fans buzzing with conversation. I won’t spoil them, but let’s just say a certain character has gained a lot of weight!
The art by Staples continues to be a real strength to this series. I’m starting to wonder if she’ll ever slip up or draw a bad panel. Characters are incredibly emotive and genuine in all of their reactions which helps sell the dialogue (which is fantastic as well). Like always Staples draws sex in a very natural and respectful way. It’s not overly sexualized or graphic for the sake of being graphic but is drawn with class. Once again another top notch issue from Staples.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The last few pages progress the story (and technically the entire issue progresses the story for Upsher and Doff) but ultimately if you’re looking for any of the main players we’ve seen in the last few issues you will be disappointed. It’s hard to knock a book like this for that though, since Vaughan and Staples wouldn’t go to the trouble of bringing Upsher and Doff back if they weren’t going to be incredibly important to the main story.
Reimbursements are a b---h!
Is It Good?
I’m sure I sound like a broken record when it comes to Saga, but it truly is always well written, well drawn and filled with surprises.