‘Saga’ continues to build its characters while delivering on plot development.
Saga has been a wild ride about family, survival, and war. The 50th issue prepared us for big changes, but knowing this story there’s bound to be a twist that’ll hit us right in the heart.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Tabloid reporters Upsher and Doff have uncovered the scoop of the century, but what will it cost Hazel and her family?
Why does this matter?
This is one of the most profound comic series of all time, let alone of today. It mixes great sci-fi tropes with an ongoing adventure that has you pulling for characters that are good, questionably bad, and straight up bad too. It’s as adult as sci-fi comics have been in a while.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue progresses the narrative of Sir Robot changing into a new species after delivering his life story to journalists. As they wait to hear when the story might run we get new details on what is going on with Sir Robot’s son as well as the anxiety Sir Robot’s girlfriend is going through. The characters are relaxing at an abandoned amusement park, but they’re also on edge for how their lives will be changing soon.
Brian K. Vaughan does a good job infusing little character tidbits that keep each character fresh and always evolving. Take Hazel, as we witness her learn to swim and how this band of friends is all parenting her. Or the photographer, who reveals a scoop he’s waited to get since childhood. We learn a new wrinkle about Marko that’s fascinating and should serve as a great plot element that will help tell the narrative from a new angle — or at the very least, show that Marko is more complicated than we ever thought.
This issue also ends on a cliffhanger that’ll have you gasping. We should probably expect endings like this from Vaughan and Staples, but dammit it’ll catch you by surprise and make you mutter, “Please, no.” A certain villain who has been on the heroes’ trail for some time makes an appearance and will indubitably shake up the dynamic these characters hold dear.
Staples is excellent and it’s becoming clear without her this series wouldn’t be the same in the slightest. From her ability to draw Gus in the cutest way imaginable, to making Sir Robot’s emotions as clear as day via body language without a single facial expression, she is infusing magic on each page. Staples is very good at doing a lot with a little with much of her genius unnoticeable it’s just that good.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’ve grown used to the first page shocking the daylights out of me, and while the opening full-page splash attempts to do so, it didn’t do it for me. It’s a cute image more than a shockingly scary one and while it ties into the pain of the character it’s just okay.
Is it good?
This issue does what so many Saga chapters before it has accomplished, and yet feels fresh and original. The dynamic of this group is about to change in a big way with major climatic interactions on the horizon. Its ability to balance character moments with big story beats is unparalleled.