Review: Saga #21
Much like last issue, Saga #21 is still just strolling along in the current storyline. It makes sense in context. Saga is a real saga. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples are telling a story that covers entire lives, if not generations. So of course there were periods in these characters’ lives when they weren’t having exciting adventures. That’s how it is for most people. Just look at my Saturday nights for the past few years. Vaughn has created such a wonderful cast, that I would enjoy an issue of these characters eating breakfast. But sometimes that slowness is a little too mellow.
I really hope Vaughn is going somewhere unexpected with these storylines, otherwise they’re going to end up being painfully slow. At least Hazel remains obnoxiously adorable.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
It’s hard to be hard on Saga. The series as a whole remains strong, and I’m confident Vaughn has all manner of great storytelling in store for us. But the past few issues have been a bit of a lull…unless, of course, they’re leading somewhere amazing. That’s the great thing about Saga: I have no idea what to expect! So whether it’s Marko’s impending infidelity or Alana’s drug use, I can’t bring myself to assume that the obvious is going to happen. It feels like the obvious is going to happen, but I don’t know, and that’s why these scenes are both boring and fascinating.
On a different level, the story of the Robot Kingdom continues in this issue, and I have absolutely no idea where it’s going. The evil janitor still has Prince Robot IV’s kid in tow, and in this issue, the Prince himself gets involved. But we know so little about the Robot Kingdom and this evil janitor’s motivations that who knows what to expect? That is good storytelling, if slightly marred by the fact that we know so little about the Robot Kingdom. I’m not personally invested in them very much. And I definitely don’t know what to think yet about this evil janitor.
I can only hope the evil janitor plans to bring Prince’s kid and Hazel together to be the best of friends!
Join me after the jump or a full synopsis and more review!
We open with Alana backstage at the Open Circuit. She’s ready to quit over the fact that the Open Circuit isn’t very subtle about their product placement, and she doesn’t want to hock crappy cereal to kids. But her co-workers convince her to just take more drugs and perform while high, it would be totally easier.
Elsewhere, Marko is still making time with his cute, bat-faced lady friend. He’s brought Hazel over to her house so that their kids can play together, and the lady isn’t the least bit subtle about what she wants.
Marko and Alanas’s storylines seem like they are kind of predictable so far, and they don’t move much beyond last issue. Alana is getting into drugs, and Marko might hook up with another woman. Fair enough. Though one line of narration from Hazel – “Mom never talked about this stage of her life much” – reminded me that Saga isn’t going to dwell on this, and that Alana won’t be defined by drug use. We’re going to be looking at Alana’s whole adult life (probably). There’s a lot more Saga to go (hopefully).
Also, playing with another kid gives Hazel plenty of time to be awesome.
Back at the spaceship tree, Izabel and Klara continue their playful banter, this time over the fact that Klara can’t stand Heist’s books, but she still wants to read them in order to honor the man. Alana shows up and announces that she got a raise because she performed much better while high, and Izabel and Klara notice that she seemed to still be a little out of it.
Marko, meanwhile, is super horny after his encounter with that pretty lady, and he grabs his wife for some awesome, spontaneous sex.
Of course, as Hazel reminds us, it’s still kind of sad.
Let’s switch from sad to awesome, where evil janitor hijacks an entire ship with his badass levels of crazy!
He sets course for Gardenia, where Marko, Alana and family live. Is he heading for them directly? Or is he going to Gardenia because the planet houses the Open Circuit? I kind of want it to be the former, even if it doesn’t make any sense.
On Sextillion, the sun-faced host mistress and her legal council awaken Prince Robot IV from his stupor in order to inform him that his wife has been killed. The lawyer thought they should tell him rather than let him continue to drown himself in sex and booze. Prince Robot IV seems back in his right mind, but he’s still kind of stupefied by the news. He also had no idea that his son was born, and when he finds out that the kid is almost a month old without him being notified, he takes it out on the hostess.
There’s that shocking violence we’ve come to love from Saga! Though Vaughn better be careful. There are only so many NPCs with some recognition left to kill off.
In order to figure all of this out, Prince Robot IV decides he needs to go see his father, King Robot!
The issue ends with a promise of getting pretty hardcore into the Robot Kingdom. I wasn’t even sure if there was a Robot King, but I guess so! I bet he’ll be a blast (get it?). The death of the Sextillion hostess was definitely shocking, and I like a good shock in my comics, but she was always a terrible person, so her death isn’t so bad. Perhaps Vaughn has said all he wants to say about Sextillion. Prince Robot IV on the warpath again should help the series, especially now that he has something other than Marko and Alana to chase. How will he take to fatherhood? Who knows! Maybe he has some kind of dark history with evil janitor, that would be cool. Either way, a visit to the Robot Kingdom next issue should be pretty exciting.
The rest of the issue just kind of plods along. The characters remain pretty great, so I enjoy reading all of their adventures, but events are still slow-going on the home front. Izabel and Klara are little more than a bantering comedy duo, while Marko and Alana are heading down seemingly obvious paths – which I discussed earlier. I can’t say I care too much to see them follow these paths. Drugs and infidelity are bad, and I would much rather read about the two of them being cute and in love.
But that’s not Saga. And Saga is damn good. At the very least, toddler Hazel is just awesome.