Review: Saga #25
The long wait is over, and our beloved Saga has returned, as good as ever. A lot has changed since the start of the last volume: Hazel, Alana and Klara are prisoners of Dengo the Crazy Janitor, Marko and Prince Robot IV have forged an uneasy alliance and are in pursuit, and Lying Cat and her homies are on a quest to save The Will! We’re spread across the galaxy in the new issue, but writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples take the time to check in on everybody for updates. It’s a solid issue with a lot of forward momentum.
Saga #25 also has the requisite single line of narration that threatens to tear my heart to shreds.
Comic Review: 9/10 – Great.
Don’t worry, though, my heart is fine. It wasn’t that bad, but Vaughn really knows how to stab the knife. How can you tell if you’ve created beloved characters? When the simple promise that ‘they’re in a story, so drama has to happen to them’ is enough to make your readers wince in pain. I can’t be the only one who wants Marko, Alana and Hazel to live happily ever after from this second forward.
But the story must move forward, drama must happen, and hearts must be broken. That Vaughn and Staples are able to so expertly craft such a tale is a testament to their skill as storytellers. Every single character feels real and full, and I’m excited to catch up on all their storylines. Once again, we have no idea where Vaughn and Staples are taking us, and I’m as excited as ever to find out where we’re going. It will no doubt be an emotional roller coaster.
Join me after the jump for a full synopsis and more review!
The issue opens with Hazel re-explaining the basics about the war between Landfall, a planet, and Wreath, its moon. She explains how Landfall used to draft soldiers via lottery, then they moved to a volunteer system, which led to a lot of poor and disenfranchised people getting pulled into the war machine. We also get a little peek at a teenage Alana!
Alana is from Landfall, a race of people distinguished by wings on their backs. Her husband, Marko, is from Wreath, a race of people distinguished by horns on their heads. They fell in love during the war and had Hazel, a hybrid of the two species. But any proof that the wings and the horns can live together in peace, such as a cross-breed baby, would hurt the war effort. So both sides are hunting the happy young family. They had found some semblance of peace and quiet in the last volume, but then a crazy revolutionary, Dengo, split the family apart by kidnapping Hazel and her mother and leaving Marko in the dust.
Hazel goes on to explain how the war eventually moved away from Landfall and its moon, fought by proxy through other species and planets. And when that happened, the people of Landfall and Wreath went back to living a life of luxury. For most people on Landfall and Wreath, the war never impacts their daily lives, even as it rages across the galaxy.
Lucky them, she says.
Hazel tells us that three months have passed since the last issue, three months that she and her family have been prisoners of Dengo the Crazy Janitor. Now he has brought them out to some frozen ice planet for some nefarious purpose.
Dengo’s son died of a treatable illness, but since he was poor, his family never got the help they needed. So Dengo kidnapped the newborn baby prince of the Robot Kingdom, as well as Hazel and her family, on a quest to try and start an uprising against the war.
While Dengo and the kids are out in the snow, Alana, her mother-in-law Klara, and their pet, Friendo, are trapped inside their rocket ship, which Dengo has run into the ground. Alana is all anger and screaming, but Klara tells her to conserve her strength. If they have any hope of defeating Dengo, they need their wits about them. Of course, he never lets Hazel out of his sight, so they need to be careful.
But we leave them for now and check in with Gwendolyn and her team. Gwen is Marko’s ex-girlfriend from long ago, and she fell in with the Wreath authorities trying to capture Marko and Alana. She teamed up with a freelance bounty hunter named The Will, who was seriously injured a few volumes ago. Now Gwen, her apprentice Sophie, Lying Cat, The Will’s sister and her dog are on the planet Demimonde trying to find a special sort of dragon semen to help cure The Will.
Apparently this involves wandering around the woods hoping to randomly find the dragon – and they do, and it’s big and scary. The fight is a brutal one, especially when it turns out that the dragon they’re fighting is female, and she pisses all over them. The urine is used to attract the rest of her family, so while they’ve now found a male dragon, they’re in pretty deep doo-doo.
But we leave them for now and check in on Marko. After his family was kidnapped, Marko teamed up with his erstwhile enemy, Prince Robot IV, to track them down. Prince Robot’s infant son is the one that Dengo kidnapped, so they’re both trying to save their families. They’ve recruited Ghus the seal boy to track Hazel’s pet, Friendo.
But tensions are high, and soon Marko and Prince Robot are at each other’s throats!
They’re interrupted by Yuma, the woman who betrayed Marko and Alana’s confidence and told Dengo about Hazel. But Marko isn’t all that happy to see her either, and he storms off, angry at the whole lot of them. Marko heads back to his bunk, where he clutches Hazel’s favorite doll, which he managed to hold onto.
And this is where Vaughn really twists the knife.
Ouch, Vaughn. Ouch. My heart can only handle so much hurt. Years? Years before they’re reunited? I realize that might happen, but do you really have to tell us so bluntly? It’s like Arya never seeing her family again in Game of Thrones. Years before Marko gets to see Hazel again…I don’t know if I have the soul to handle that.
So let’s move on with the story.
We cut back to Dengo as he returns to the ship with his prisoners. He tells them that he’s given up on trying to change society with a TV broadcast and has instead reached out to the Revolution, a band of freedom fighters determined to put an end to both Landfall and Wreath.
Can’t say I’m too impressed yet. While I’ve no doubt Vaughn and Staples have a lot of neat ideas in store for these characters, their mere existence doesn’t pack the same kind of punch that most Saga cliffhangers do. If I was Vaughn, I would have twisted this ending around with that proclamation that Marko and Hazo wouldn’t see each other for years. That was a real heart-breaker. This is just adding a bunch of random new characters to an already crowded landscape.
Plus they probably only exist because Vaughn is running out of named characters to kill off.
Saga #25 is a solid and entertaining return to the story. Nothing has been lost in the intervening months, and Vaughn keeps all plates spinning with expert skill. Every storyline gets a surge forward in this issue, nearly every character accounted for. In just a few pages each, Vaughn instills personality into each and every one, reminding me why I love this series so much. I want to find out where everybody is going, and issues like this one are how that happens. Obviously, Vaughn’s work can get a little heart-breaking at times, but I know it’s all in service to the larger, better story. I’m just going to have to sit back and suck it up, because there’s no way I’ll ever put Saga down.