By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Another month, another issue of the comics epic that is Saga. No matter what you normally get in your pull list, whenever Saga comes out, this should be the first book you pick out of the pile. There is a certain amount of anticipation as you flip through the pages and see the most amazingly bizarre things on flutter by.
As a writer, Brian K. Vaughan has pretty much done it all. He’s had several successful comic book series, as well as some tv writing credits, which include the hit series Lost. It’s gotten to the point where he can pretty much do whatever he wants. This issue of Saga, Vaughan spreads the page time around, as many of the big players appear this month. While a good deal of focus goes to Hazel developing as a young girl, we also get appearances from The Will, Alanna and Marko, and everyone’s favorite, Ghus. Working with too many storylines in one issue can sometimes spread it too thin, but that doesn’t happen here. The few pages Vaughan gives us from each character is satisfying enough and keeps interest in where they are heading next month. The most satisfying of these storylines involves The Will with Doff and Upsher. The interaction between these characters is fun with the journalists wanting The Will to perish, and even though he’s a fatty now, Vaughan shows us that The Will is still as dangerous as ever. It’s gotten to the point in Saga where Vaughan has us questioning every move made by the characters. Even people we expect are doing well and trying to help, we still have suspicions about. Vaughan layers so many of the players, bit or otherwise, so well that we can’t be sure how we feel about them. We are left with many questions and concerns at the end of this issue, and that is never a bad thing for an ongoing series.
The art is handled by indelible Fiona Staples. You can’t really imagine another artist on this title, and that speaks volumes for the work that Staples has done. What makes her work so good on this issue, and the series in general, is her unique style. Nothing in this issue feels forced or shoehorned in. For instance, as The Will travels with his new journalist friends, a giant sea monster pops out of the ice and attacks them. This page is drawn superbly due to the amazing line work and detail, as well as the color contrast on the creature and the ice. Emotions on faces are huge this issue too. For a character like Miss Noreen, who is not well-known or super important to the series, we rely on the looks she gives us to see which side she falls on morally. Staples draws her as a bright-eyed and willing to help character, and even though she may turn out to be a villain (based on Staples’ subtle art cues) we are sold on her being genuine. The colors in this issue are great, as usual. They are very light and friendly, and for a series that has some pretty messed up things happen in it, this bright and spirited color palette always give you some comfort when you need it.
If you’re honestly not reading Saga at this point, you are really missing out. This is consistently one of the best written, drawn, and colored books on the shelves. It’s hard not to get invested in every character due to the work Vaughan and Staples do on a monthly basis.