Long ago, back in August, I participated in several readathons and tried to use them to catch up on the Saga volumes I own. The following are my reviews on the three volumes I read.
Saga is a popular comic book series about a couple from warring planets who fall in love and have a baby, a major taboo. Their union signify a possible end to the war and show that it’s possible for both sides to have compassion for each other. The couple’s respective governments would like to hide such a fact, so they send bounty hunters after the couple and their child to get rid of them.
Saga, Vol. 4
I continued the story with volume 4 in which Alana briefly takes a job as an actress and Marko becomes a stay-at-home dad. These roles place a strain on their relationship and they begin to move apart, which culminates in a tense ending that fractures their union.
Meanwhile, an assassin of sorts kills Princess Robot and kidnaps her baby, which unhinges Prince Robot IV even more when he’s briefed about what happened; and Gwendolyn and Sophie try to find a cure for The Will unaware that they are being hunted.
So far, this is my favorite volume of the series. There is so much tension in the plot and so many possible ways for it to fracture. Characters develop more complexity, and the story hints at a new direction.
Where before Alana and Marko were the perfect couple without any internal struggles, this volume gives us a different look at their union and shows us how the stress of their situation affect them and what vices they could possibly succumb to. This volume highlights their youth and the many possible errors that can, and do, unbalance the life they’ve temporarily carved for their family. I don’t have the words to express how much I love this bit of the plot. I love it that their relationship is tried and that what sunders them is a combination of internal conflicts and external threats. It gives these characters more to fight for to convince us readers that their union is something they want, something they choose, and is not caused only by circumstance, by the coincidence that a prison guard and a war criminal happened to find the one person from their enemy planet willing to build a life together with them. Major Spoiler: I teared up when Marko and Alana split up. I could feel the intensity and emotions in the scene and, gosh, when I look at it again I feel it. 😥
Prince Robot IV’s and Gwendolyn and Sophie’s stories were also interesting, but they did not affect me as much as Alana and Marko’s did. Though I do not like Prince Robot IV, I pitied him even more in this volume. It’s obvious that he’s deeply affected by his time in war and is suffering from PTSD and is direly in need of psychological help. It was sad and uncomfortable to see what he succumbed to in his damaged state and what becomes of his family because of the war his father wages for Landfall.
Of Gwendolyn and Sophie’s story, I only thought that the two made a great team and was surprised that The Brand is The Will’s sister and that she has a similar familiar. And with The Will, the only interesting thing I saw there was the answer to my unasked question: How exactly did he and The Stalk have sex?
Now I know.
It’s my favorite of the series. The story gains more gravity here and the separation of the characters made me eager to find out what would happen next.
Saga, Vol. 5
The adventure continues. Alana and Klara, Marko’s mom, try to protect Hazel from their new enemies (and old ones too); Marko and Prince Robot IV team up to find their kids since they are both taken by the same person; and Gwendolyn, Sophie, and The Brand team up to get the cure for The Will.
My thoughts: (some spoilers)
I started this immediately after completing the last volume. I was too eager to see what would happen next and, hopefully, see my favorite characters reunited. My interest and expectations were high and I expected this volume to top the last, but unfortunately, it reached a peak then plateaued.
I see the need for the new villains and I like that they were included because it shows how others profit from the strife and confusion caused by the war, but unfortunately, my interest in it began to waver toward the end, which is good that it wraps up in this volume. However, if I was reading the story by the single issues, I probably would have become annoyed by that plot line before its end.
Marko’s drug trip didn’t appeal to me much either though I know it was a way for him to deal with his guilt and regrets, thus providing further development of his character and revealing what motivates him apart from his family. I was entertained by the dialogue between Prince Robot IV and Ghus, the seal, and was grateful that we are given a different perspective of Prince Robot IV, one that is not his usual villainous ways; and I loved how Yuma exits the story: High as fuck.
Speaking of exits, the end of The Brand was totally unexpected. I didn’t see that coming and was hoping she would stick around for a while. She seems the most level-headed of the characters (her and Marko’s dad, who’s also dead…I guess level-headedness isn’t allowed to be in the story, which is probably why Izabel is only allowed to come out at night). But I wasn’t much interested in that bit of the story either, though it was funny that she, Gwendolyn, and Sophie had to collect dragon semen for The Will’s cure.
Overall: ★★★★☆ 1/2
The story is still good and makes up for the lack of action in the last volume, but it’s at the sacrifice of the intensity and tension gained in volume 4. So despite the return to action and adventure in this, the story begins to flatline for me as some plot lines begin to lose their gravity. However, I appreciate the character developments presented in this volume.
Saga, Vol. 6
Characters are reunited and develop a whole new level of badassery.
I wasn’t as eager to pick up this volume upon completing the last one, but I do like how the story develops here and am curious about a new character who was introduced – Petrichor, who adds some gender diversity to the story and also brings a perspective on Alana and Marko’s relationship that we weren’t exposed to before: that it is a sin.
Though the government is against the couple’s union, their unacceptance is because of the threat it poses to their lucrative war efforts. The negativity caused by the war is so steeped in the culture of both Landfall and Wreath that folks seem to think that union between people of both planets could never happen and sexual union is impossible. It is interesting, however, that this perspective – the “sinfulness” of Alana and Marko’s sexual union and production of Hazel – is expressed by Petrichor, who is ostracized in the detention center for how she is: identifying as female and possessing both male and female genitalia. I guess this emphasizes how much people of both planets loath each other.
I was shocked by the changes in The Will and surprised by Klara’s development, though, when I think back on her character, it makes total sense because Klara is a badass. The Will, however, was unexpected. He has devolved and has become a villain with seemingly no redeeming qualities. I’m no longer a fan and am not sold on his personal ghosts haunting him. It doesn’t appeal to me much.
Alana and Marko were fun to read about. I liked their Bonnie & Clyde stints and also that their relationship with Prince Robot IV has taken a lighter turn. However the majority of this volume was focused on Hazel to cement her physically in the narrative. I liked her curiosity and she’s so cute! But I thought her grasshopper teacher, who freaks me out a bit because I’d never want to see a life-sized grasshopper wearing glasses teaching my classes, had a devious plan when she proposed to help Hazel escape the detention center. I just thought she looked evil, though that’s probably because I think all life-sized insects look evil. Major spoiler: I love Marko and Alana’s expressions when they are united with Hazel. 😀
Upshur and Doff, the journalists, don’t appeal to me much, but I am curious to see if their story on Marko and Alana will be published/broadcasted, and what the consequences of it will be.
The story is interesting and I like the plot and character developments and twists, but I think it’s still on the plateau I mentioned in my review of volume 5 (above), which for now I am okay with since it’s not getting worse and I’m still interested in the story.
I don’t have much to say here since Fiona Staples is the illustrator for these three volumes and I still love her style. I guess the only thing that really jumped out at me is the grasshopper teacher. She’s scary because she’s a grasshopper. I’d never show up for classes if she was my teacher.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
Saga is great, so if you haven’t yet read it, I highly recommend it to you. It has a lot of graphic content, sex and violence, so it might not be for everyone.
6 thoughts on “Comics Roundup #19: Saga, Vols. 4-6”
I’m finally catching up with this series and am loving these middle volumes, as they are layered and poignant with real depth.
I’m at volume 6 and am starting to realize that I’m back to falling behind on the series with volume 8 coming out soon… I dropped a star for volume 5, but I feel like I was becoming more desensitized to the extravagance and violence of all the shocking things Brian K. Vaughan could come up with. Honestly, if volume 5 had been the first, it would probably have gotten a full 5 stars. Anyways, still one of the best comic book series out there today. Great reviews! 🙂
Same here. I don’t find the graphic scenes so shocking anymore and even though I dropped stars on two volumes, they are still pretty good. I really like that Hazel has more of a physical presence in the story now.
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