Review: Saga #9
No Brian K. Vaughn, why would you do this to us? You take two issues to really get the momentum going on Marko, Alana and their family, only to suddenly throw us this curveball with an entire issuing focusing on The Will? What the heck, man? I like The Will as much as the next reader. And Gwendolyn seems cool. But their stories could have waited until you were done rocking our socks off with the real stars of this comic. I was in no rush to watch The Will rescue that little girl from Sextillion. That could have happened at any time. But not in the middle of you delivering some of the best characterization in this series to date.
Saga #9 is a sad disappointment, interrupting a great storyline to bring us only a mediocre one. The Will and Gwendolyn fight a bunch of weird mole people to rescue the little girl from a few issues ago, whose name is apparently ‘Slave Girl’. Please, as if Sextillion isn’t full of underage slave prostitutes.
Comic Rating: 3/5: Alright.
Sagas #7 and #8 were a great two-parter, introducing Marko’s mom and dad and really ingratiating them in the family. Saga #8 was the best issue of the series so far, in my opinion, and I was definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next. So why, oh why, did Vaughn change gears completely and switch to this other story? It’s not like Marko and the gang had reached a natural conclusion. Their stories are still ongoing. We haven’t even caught up to Isabel yet. But nope. Vaugh introduced Gwendolyn at the end of the last issue and he’s apparently very eager to start using her.
I swear, the next issue better not just be about Prince Robot IV.
Anyway, this issue isn’t terrible by any means. The Will is a pretty cool character, and his rescue of Slave Girl is pretty noble. Gwendolyn also needs a chance to grow as a character, though I think she could have benefited from staying in the shadows for a bit. Let her mystique build. But in the end, Vaughn is creating an epic saga, and the story isn’t just about Marko, Alana and Hazel. So I guess it’s warranted to have a few issues starring the other characters. I just think this one came at the worst possible time.
Join me after the jump for a full synopsis and more review!
The issue opens with The Will having already raided Sextillion to get Slave Girl, but if he wants to get away, he’ll have to go through Mama Sun and her goons. She’s caught him red-handed, and mocks his seeming obsession with prepubescent girls. But The Will isn’t worried because his partner is there to help him out.
It’s The Stalk! She got the hole in her torso patched up – The Will says she was away on sick leave – and The Stalk gets the drop on Mama Sun. She cuts off the whoremonger’s head and reunites with her ex-lover The Will.
The Will introduces The Stalk to Slave Girl, and she tries to bond with the little one over their shared crappy childhoods. But something’s wrong with Slave Girl. She wants to know how many times The Will is going to make himself relive this fantasy? Wait…what?
Oh, it was all a dream!
The Will wakes up in his crummy little camp on some alien planet, with Lying Cat hovering over him. He doesn’t get any time to relax, though, because Gwendolyn has found him. After all, she works for Wreath High Command, and they want to know why their high-priced bounty hunter has failed to kill Marko, Alana and their brood. The Will apologizes, but he’s moved on to personal matters. Gwendolyn is already well aware that he wants to kill Prince Robot IV. She informs The Will that Prince Robot is also hunting our heroes, so the best way for The Will to get his revenge is to do the job he was hired to do.
The Will realizes that there’s something more going on with Gwendolyn.
The Will figures out her romantic interest in the matter, but she says it’s a bit more complicated than that. Also, Gwendolyn has a special translator necklace that’s part of a set. Marko has the other parts. That’ll be important later.
The Will says he’ll get back to work, but he needs more money to do the job right – though Lying Cat points out that he’s lying. Reluctantly then, The Will comes clean and says he wants the extra money to buy out Slave Girl’s contract on Sextillion so he can save her. So Gwendolyn arranges a deal. She’ll free Slave Girl and The Will will get back to work.
Gwendolyn is pretty good with trickery, and she gives Mama Sun a call…
Mama Sun is eager to get rid of the Slave Girl when she ‘learns’ that the child is a Moony. So they arrange a drop off. The Will and Gwendolyn head to the planet to pick up Slave Girl, only to find out that Mama Sun figured out their scam and sent her goons – though she also sent Slave Girl. Mama Sun has upped the price for her freedom to $30 million. Also, her goons are weird alien mole people for no particular reason.
The Will is not about to pay, so he pulls out his blade. The moles mock him for having a silly little laser sword. But The Will explains that its not a laser sword, it’s an extendo-lance.
The fight is on! The Will, Gwendolyn and Lying Cat take on the mole henchmen, making quick work of them. Gwendolyn even reveals that she knows a few spells thanks to Marko. They kill the henchmen and take Slave Girl aboard their ship when they leave. The Will and Gwendolyn argue a bit about where to take Slave Girl when she wakes up from her nap to state that she can somehow communicate with Gwendolyn’s necklace. Slave Girl says that the necklace misses its family, and knows that they are close.
The necklace’s family just happen to be the wedding rings that Marko and Alana are wearing. And Slave Girl, through the necklace, can tell The Will and Gwendolyn where to find them.
It’s a fine issue, I suppose. It’s got action and some strong character work for The Will and Gwendolyn. Even Lying Cat has some fun. I bet Vaughn sits around coming up with wonderful new Lying Cat scenes. But in the overall scheme of things, this issue is more plot progression than fulfilling story. Vaughn had to get The Will back on the hunt, and that included bringing Slave Girl into the mix. I mean, she just so happens to be able to communicate with that necklace. Pretty convenient. I’m sure Vaughn has some big plans for Slave Girl, so I suppose getting her into the saga sooner rather than later is better for everyone.
I just wish he hadn’t disrupted the much better story taking place to give us this tale. Marko and Alana are in the middle of some fantastic storytelling. There shouldn’t be any rush to get The Will back on the trail. And Gwendolyn could have benefited from staying in the background after her big introduction at the end of last issue. But oh well. I’m not the writer of Saga. I’m not the one who decides what happens.
The issue isn’t bad. The action feels a little forced, as if every issue needs some action, but at least its entertaining action. And The Will is as cool as always, though he’s becoming less enigmatic as the story goes along. I’m also not sure why his cloak seems to have a superhero mask attached to it. Where’d that come from? And what’s he plan to do with it? The dream sequence was as unnecessary as most dream sequences. Though I suppose it served to remind us of The Will’s desire to save Slave Girl. And it gave artist Fiona Staples a chance to draw The Stalk again. I miss The Stalk. But I guess Gwendolyn will have to do. And I suppose there’s benefit to turning Gwendolyn into a real person instead of a mysterious background character. Vaughn might also be setting up a parallel between Marko, Alana, Hazel and The Will, Gwendolyn, Slave Girl. Maybe.
I trust Vaughn to know what he’s doing. A lot of necessary steps took place in this issue. I just wish they’d come at a different time. Hopefully we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program next issue.