Review: Saga #20

Sometimes, Saga can be the most amazing, devastating comic book on the market. And sometimes, writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples just need to get from Point A to Point B. Those issues aren’t bad either, but they’re not as exciting or as emotionally driven as the really great issues. That’s definitely not a bad thing, because Vaughn and Staples are producing one great comic. And sometimes you just need to let your story grow. Sometimes you’ve got a twist you need to drop or a point to make, or you need a few scenes to let Hazel be absolutely adorable.

Saga #20

Either way, whatever those two are doing, it makes for a good issue of Saga.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

The last issue of Saga was devastating. It was like a punch to the gut. I wanted to cry, but I’m too manly for that. So I sucked it up and spent the last month hoping it was all a dream – that didn’t work. And here we are at Saga #20, the next chapter in the end of the beautiful relationship that is Marko and Alana. Vaughn wastes no time in putting temptation in their path, and it’s a little heart-breaking. Part of me thinks he’s putting one over on us, because the events of this issue are so obvious. But it’s probably just Vaughn doing what he has to do, which, of course, is break our hearts.

I really hope I can make it through this volume of Saga.

This is a fine issue that really focuses on the characters. Almost everyone gets a bit of spotlight, and it’s all nice for building their character and presenting more of their current situations. Alana is still on that weird TV show. Marko gets to play papa. And there’s some insanity about to go down in the Robot Kingdom. Oh yeah. That’s the big hubbaloo in Saga #20. In fact, I bet this whole volume is going to focus more on the Robot Kingdom and what they have to do with everything. They’re a weird bunch, to be sure, and I bet Vaughn has something big planned.

He’d better, because my heart can only take so much torment. Join me after the jump for the full synopsis with FULL SPOILERS and more review!

Speaking of the robots, we open with Prince Robot IV hanging out on Sextillion. He seems to be his old self, and he’s enjoying the company of many fine alien ladies. One of them is even part beaver. Literally. The creepy ruler of Sextillion tells her underling that she doesn’t care that the Prince is a missing person, and assumes the Prince has come to Sextillion to avoid his newborn child.

Speaking of children, Hazel is in the middle of her ‘breakfast screech’, waking Marko.

That freakin’ kid!

Dawn is coming, and Alana has already gone to work when Marko wakes up. Isabel quickly explains that Hazel screeches like that when she’s hungry, and that Marko should let his mother sleep in. Then Isabel disappears with the arriving dawn  – what with being a ghost and all – and Marko finds the business card of that dance teacher he met last issue in his coat pocket. Surely, he must be thinking to himself, Hazel’s talents could be better spent on things other than screeching.

We switch over to Alana, who is in an argument with another actor at her work – but it’s really all part of the show…I think. Later, in the locker room, Alana chats with some other actors and they compare notes on how she isn’t the only former soldier working the Circuit. They talk about how Alana sees them all as entertainers, but then Heist’s ex-wife shows up and explains that they’re actually drug dealers. The Circuit is like a drug. People tune into the show and tune out the rest of the universe and all of its troubles.

Speaking of drugs, Yuma is totally high right now, and Alana wants in on that! So Yuma gives her some good, quality Fadeaway.

Drugs’re bad

Let’s leave Alana to her trippy drug sequence.

Back home, Marko has taken Hazel out to the dance studio, where the instructor flirts with him a little bit while Hazel dances with some pretty lights. The lady’s husband is out working, and her kids are also a handful, so they have a lot to bond over. She asks him to dance, and Marko initially refuses, but she convinces him to do it anyway.

Harpy! Shrew! Home-wrecker!

We then bounce over to the Robot Kingdom, where the new mother is slowly rocking her baby. Then the janitor we saw briefly from last issue strolls into the room, scaring the bejeebus out of her. And rightfully so, because he’s a psychopath. He reveals a bloody sword hidden in his broom handle, having just killed the guards.

Always the butler, never the janitor

He starts talking about his own child, and how one day the kid came down with a bad case of diarrhea. But commoners without insurance can’t get medical care, so the guy could do nothing but sit by and watch as his only child died due to diarrhea. It was pretty gruesome. He was there with his son when he died, and he asks the princess if she knows what his son’s last three words were…

Murder most foul!

Gruesome indeed.

The janitor, Dengo, takes the baby and carries him out of the room. He tells the baby that he has a very important job ahead of him, that the baby is going to help every last child in the Robot Kingdom, regardless of lineage. He carries the baby into the servants quarters’ – where everyone is dead – and Dengo tells the baby that he’s going to have an audience, while looking at the Circuit on TV.

So I guess he’s going to put the baby on TV?

We’ll have to wait for future issues to find out!

Saga #20 was a fine comic. I’m not entirely sure if it moved the larger storyline forward at all. If something does indeed happen between Marko and that dance instructor, then this issue definitely moved that along. But it seems so blatantly obvious that I would be kind of disappointed in both Marko and Vaughn if he just…ended up with her, you know? So the first woman outside of Alana to show Marko any attention and he hooks up with her? I hope Vaughn is stirring up something bigger there, that this is all just some kind of feint. But even if it goes the way I think it’s going, it’ll probably still be a worthwhile read. Vaughn is just going to slowly crush our hearts into powder.

I’ve written before about how I’m just not into psychedelic drug and dream trips in fiction, so I don’t have much to say about Alana’s little scene. Is she gonna get heavy into drugs? That’s kind of disappointing.

The real major stakes come into play for the robots, but honestly, they’ve never been much in terms of character. We barely know Prince Robot IV’s wife, so who cares that she’s dead now? I suppose something could come of this baby, but I still have no real idea what role the baby has in the royal family. I’m almost positive that there are multiple royal families? Am I reading that wrong? I didn’t think Prince Robot IV was the head of the Robot Kingdom, right? I don’t know. Basically, the Robot Kingdom just isn’t all that fleshed out in Saga, so a story about a psycho janitor kidnapping the Baby Prince doesn’t have as much emotional resonance as a story about our favorite family. Maybe Vaughn should have spent some time letting us get to know the mother before violently ending her life.

Saga #20 is an issue that moves all the pieces forward just a little bit, while focusing mostly on the characters themselves. That’s good enough for me.

About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on June 26, 2014, in Comics, Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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