Warning: Spoilers within this review!
He’s done it again. Or more accurately, they’ve done it again. Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples red-hot series Saga reaches the conclusion of the first arc and lands Comic of the Week honours as well. Issue #5 was our pick last month and issue #6 stood out amongst a strong pack to become our pick this week.
I’m starting to feel sorry for any other comics vying for reader’s attention in a week in which Saga comes out. It’s like going into any kind of sprint race with Usain Bolt. You’re going to get beat. That’s how it is.
And before GeeksUnleashed.Me gets any accusations of favouritism towards this comic, or Image Comics, let me close that down right away. Saga #6 is simply the comic I enjoyed the most this week, and I don’t think I will be alone in this.
With the unexpected death of major character The Stalk in last months issue Vaughan really upped the stakes and left us in no doubt that anything can and will happen in this series. The shock in this issue is the attack on another major character in the last few pages, whose fate remains unclear as the comic ends.
In the first few pages of this issue we see Marko and Alana still trying to find the Rocketship Forest. At first it seems that their quest is doomed to failure when they find the place on the map but it is a decimated forest with nothing but tree stumps and rotting branches. Their disappointment at this discovery is palpable. Fortunately Izabel is on hand to reveal the true forest, which has been hidden from the view of ‘lifers’.
The reveal of the craft that will enable the family’s escape is absolutely stunning and a highlight of this issue. Craft is really an apt word here because the tree rocket-ship is a wonderful creation and Marko and Alana’s joy at the sight of it is surely matched by the readers. I spent quite a while just staring at the tree rocket-ship, totally spellbound. Bravo. Fiona Staples art is a joy to behold and she is really doing a fantastic job of bringing Vaughan’s ideas to life – her images almost leap off the page.
The cover is absolutely beautiful as well, and has much more meaning after reading the issue. Go back and look again.
Vaughan’s writing is also brilliant, as we have come to expect. He really injects so much humanity into the characters that you forget that Marko has horns and Alana has wings and they just become two young, very new parents trying their hardest to give their daughter the best life they can. I love the sequences with Marko and Alana. The dialogue between them offers a counterpoint to the fantastical elements of the comic. There is nothing like the helpless needs of a newborn baby to keep you grounded and Hazel is no different. No matter what is happening around them Marko and Alana are always aware of Hazel and what she needs at any given moment.
It’s the little details which make this issue, and Saga on the whole, shine for me: such as Alana’s joy at the shower pressure on the tree rocket-ship, and the fact that The Stalk’s space-craft has a key fob operated central locking mechanism, complete with ‘badoop’ sound effect. Love it.
Not far behind the small family group is Prince Robot IV. He determines where they are heading by looking through the contents of The Stalk’s space-craft and his determination to find them is renewed once again.
Also featured in this issue is The Will, a fascinating character who in this issue gets a whole lot more interesting. I really don’t know which way The Will is going to go when it comes down to the question of whether he is good or bad. We know he has a soft spot for children but he’s clearly a ruthless killer with a job to do. I’m expecting some kind of showdown between Prince Robot IV and The Will. That will be special.
The conflicts within the characters are one of the things that Vaughan is such an expert at conveying. These internal conflicts become much more important that the wider background conflicts this world is embroiled in.
At the end of this issue we are introduced to two new characters in Marko’s parents. Their entrance is violent, frantic and the repercussions will be felt well beyond the final page of this issue. Oh, indeed.