Saga #5

by deerinthexenonarclights

When I reviewed the first issue of this series I spoke primarily of two positive traits of the book that briskly became apparent: the depth and richness of the ridiculous world that Vaughn and Staples had weaved together and the speed at which they were skipping through it. Usually these would be contradictory characteristics but somehow the pair managed to make them perfectly coalesce and this present issue of the comic is clear evidence of that fact. In an attempt to illustrate how well the pair were building this world in Saga I said that the supporting characters already seemed strong enough to support a book of their own, a spin-off series of sorts, specifically The Will and Prince Robot. When I said this I was thinking that these theoretical books would be written well in the future, but in actual fact the first one started this time last month.

Now don’t worry, don’t urgently call your local comic shop, you haven’t actually missed out on this new book, I’m simply speaking figuratively. During the fourth issue of the flagship The Will was given something of a stand alone story, given an amount of space normally saved for the title character and this week – as the cover suggests – the same can be said of television head Prince Robot. This then turns my example of one trait into evidence for the other, displaying obviously the startling pace with which the pair are telling their story; since we are given this enriching supplemental stuff on top of, not instead of the primary plot of those parent protagonists.

Like this plot the prevalence of these qualities doesn’t seem to be slowing down any, in fact it’s probably the opposite and so their oxymoronical nature only grows. It’s honestly gotten to the point where after reading each issue I go back through it again: not to relive my favorite lines or moments in Vaughn’s script or to fully appreciate the amazing art of Fiona Staples ( both of which i do later ) but to count the number of pages so I can be sure that this two aren’t cheating and using extra pages. Frustratingly they’re not, they’re simply so good at what they do that their book, like a certain phone box, is bigger on the inside. It’s not impossible, it’s Saga.

Perhaps the biggest shock that occurs on these pages is the apparent killing off of one of the books best periphery characters after page upon page of powerful cliffhanger; how’s that for pacing? The issue starts off strait enough, humanizing Prince Robot the fourth by announcing that he is soon to be a father while simultaneously making a monster out of Marko, beginning the two characters closer together on the moral level. This is interesting because it, as well as their shared history of arranged marriages, makes them something like twins or maybe mirror images of one another. Robot seems relentless in his quest now but that beautifully tragic flash on his monitor suggests that he may soon begin to empathize with Marco’s plight. That is provided that he lives long enough for that to happen.

So whatever it’s size Saga is so powerful, so unpredictable and so much fun to read each month that it makes me wish reality ran even half,as quick as their stories; waiting a month between issues simply doesn’t seem fair, while waiting a month for the final issue of this first arc seems like it may yet be fatal. So read this book, but be warned that you will be left wanting more.