Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
Image Comics 2014
Alana, Marko & co. are hiding out with their favorite author, D. Oswald Heist, while the hunt for their illicit fledgling family continues. The Will & co. debate their continued pursuit of the family on hallucination planet, Prince Robot IV is malfunctioning, and a pair of reporters of uncertain allegiances enter the search.
It would not be a stretch to call this arc a lull in Saga’s action. That said, action needs an occasional lull, and a lull with these characters remains more riveting than most characters at their best.
Novel lovers and especially writers will get a lot of private laughs out of the interlude spent hiding out with Heist, which are hopefully not too boring for everyone else. There’s a lovely skewering of the old adage “kill your darlings.”
We’re introduced to several intriguing new characters, including the Will’s sister, the Brand, a fellow mercenary whose shadow he’s had to live in, and in spite of their estrangement, his closest family. Then there are Upsher and Doff, the journalist couple newly investigating the fugitive family, whose relationship is straining painfully under not only their planet’s anti-gay sentiment but their own conflicting interpretations of journalistic ethics.
The lull in action is clearly not an accident or a simple matter of rhythm but a deliberate reflection of the way life is sometimes most difficult between catastrophes, in the day to day activities of getting by. Having made their escape for now, Alana and Marko have to figure out what kind of life they’ve escaped to, how to provide for their daughter, and how to balance being parents with being people. After losing her husband, Marko’s mother is living the bittersweet progression of falling in love again, if not in exactly the same way, and after being liberated from Sextillion, Sophie faces the monumental task of reclaiming an identity she barely had the opportunity to develop in the first place before having it taken away.
That’s not to say that Vol. 3 is completely lacking in action. Marko and Gwendolyn finally have the confrontation he’s been dodging from the start, and The Will’s group’s encounter with mind-controlling hallucinogens spills characteristically way out of hand. It's a joy, as ever, that makes you want to turn the page even and especially when the pages run out.
Agree? Disagree? Comments are always welcome (just keep it civil, folks)! Or keep up with my fictional musings by joining me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or by signing up for email updates in the panel on the right!