Review: Saga #22
This is gonna get good. Do you ever get that feeling reading a comic? Do you flip through the pages, read the dialogue, scan the pictures, and get that feeling in your gut that all of this is going somewhere and it’s gonna be awesome? I got that feeling reading Saga #22. The last few issues have been pretty low key, and I’ve rated them as such, but now writer Brian K. Vaughn is starting to move his chess pieces around the board. All the characters he’s introduced, all the plot lines he seeded, start swirling together in the new issue, and it’s rather exciting.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but I think this Saga comic is gonna be pretty good.
Comic Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples had a lot to introduce coming into this new volume. They did a time jump, so there was a lot they had to get readers up to speed on in the universe before they could restart the story proper. I get that. Nothing wrong with that. But it made for a few issues that were just setting up the scenery. And it was depressing scenery. Can you believe that Vaughn and Staples are doing to Marko and Alana?! Man, what a drag. But in the end, there’s no denying that it’s going to be a great story, because that’s what these to do: they make great comics!
Things start to heat up in a bad way between Marko and Alana in this issue. We knew it was coming, and Vaugh just slaps us in the face with it. But they’re just the beginning. Were you, like I, wondering where all this crazy janitor stuff was going? Oh yeah, it’s going there. It’s going right there, and Vaughn is going to destroy us with it.
Well I say bring it on!
Join me after the jump for a full synopsis and more review!
We open on the Spaceship Tree, where Izabel uses her shapeshifting powers to teach Hazel about the origins of the universe – apparently some funky space princess “tooted” it all into existence. Klara bursts into the room mad about something, but since Alana and Marko are out and about, their special rings aren’t translating Klara. Izabel has no idea what she’s saying – but Hazel does. She’s begun to learn multiple languages, and according to her, Klara is worried about Marko and Alana. As she should be. As we all should be.
Alana is at work, where her new drugged-out acting style nearly gets her in trouble.
Fortunately, the audience loves her blissed-out bit of improv, and Alana’s boss lets her off easy. But Yuma recognizes the line from one of Heist’s books, and she warns Alana that someone in the audience might recognize the line and identify her. Alana tells Yuma not to worry.
But she probably should.
But as Hazel says, we’ll worry about those guys some other time.
For now, we jump over to the Robot Kingdom, where Prince Robot IV stands over his wife’s coffin in silence, crying on his screen. Then his father arrives, and his father is…everything I should have expected, but nothing I saw coming. King Robot is the most obvious character in the series so far.
Prince Robot insists that he be allowed to go out and chase after Dengo the Crazy Janitor, but King Robot ain’t having none of that. He berates his son and tells him that he’ll remain at home like a disgrace while the Robot Kingdom soldiers chase after Dengo. The King even smacks him around a bit before leaving. And he essentially tells Prince Robot to grow a pair.
That’s when Agent Gale strolls in and tells Prince Robot that he can help. Dengo may have ripped the tracking device out of the ship he stole, but Dengo didn’t know about the Landfall tracker that the wings sneak onto every robot ship. Gale knows exactly where to find Dengo the Crazy Janitor, and he points Prince Robot towards Gardenia, warning him that Dengo might be trying to start a revolution.
Speaking of Gardenia, we reach the heart-breaking scene of our comic. A friend drops Alana off at home after work, and gives her a bite of Fadeaway before she leaves – and Marko catches her.
The two have it out there on the lawn. Marko asks if she’s ever been high in front of Hazel, while Alana quizzes him on ‘Ginny’, because Marko has been saying her name in his sleep. They bicker back and forth until Alana finally admits to being high in front of their daughter, prompting Marko to throw the groceries at her.
Alana shouts at her husband to leave, and Marko takes off. Klara and Izabel watch from the window. And Hazel sleeps through it all.
At any rate, back at the studio, Yuma and the other actors are heading home, talking about Alana, drugs and life in general. That’s when Dengo the Crazy Janitor shows up, gun in one hand, baby in the other. He points it at them and demands they put him on the Open Circuit. One of the actors gets in his face, and Dengo blows his head off. Their boss tries to tell Dengo that the Open Circuit doesn’t work the way he thinks, and they can’t just put him on the air, so he shoots her in the stomach. Then he points the gun at Yuma.
She went there. Vaughn and Staples are going there.
Oh man. So often the case with Saga is that I just know the next issue is going to be off the chain! Do…do kids still stay ‘off the chain’? If…if they don’t, can we bring it back?
Anyway, this was a pretty exciting issue of Saga. Obviously nothing has hit any fans yet, but Vaughn clearly knows exactly what he’s doing. He took some time to slow things down, introduce new characters, concepts and conflicts, and now he’s finally ready to take them to places we wouldn’t expect and probably don’t want. That’s good fiction. That’s great storytelling. It’s pretty much the nuts and bolts of storytelling. That Vaughn, with the help of Staples, can pull it off so well is a testament to his great skill and all around awesomeness.
As many of us know, if you’re looking for great comics, go with Brian K. Vaughn.
The stuff with Marko and Alana is obviously sad. But we’ve all gotten over the initial shock, and now I just want to see what Vaughn does with it. Part of me hopes that Marko never sleeps with Ginny, because that’s just too predictable. When he didn’t show up at the start of the comic, and Izabel said he was out on a ‘supply run’, I thought for sure I knew what Marko was doing. But nope! He shows up at the end with the supplies. That was neat. But he and Alana are falling apart. We can’t help it now. I will always lament that we never got to really see them in the good times, but those would probably have been boring comics (though also, probably not). I’m also a little disappointed that Klara and Izabel seem to have been pushed to the side in all of this, but that can’t be helped. They have no real bearing on the story at the moment. Their lives just aren’t all that important right now.
Despite looking absolutely amazing, King Robot was also kind of disappointing. I guess there are only so many ways to write a king/prince relationship, and Vaughn went for the one where the king views his son as a disappointment that he can slap around. I can only hope that Vaughn doesn’t make that relationship any more cliche. Though I’m pretty sure Prince Robot IV is going to go places we couldn’t even begin to imagine.
Dengo remains a total and complete wildcard. I have no idea what he’s going to do with Baby Robot, and I have no idea what he could do with Hazel and her family. I wouldn’t mind watching Marko and Alana kick his ass, but that storyline is a firecracker of unpredictability! So many people could die. So much could happen. So many things could go right or go wrong. It’s very, very exciting.
So like always, I cannot wait for the next issue of Saga!