By Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Eric Stephenson, and Fonografiks
If you consider yourself a current comic snob, a comic book aficionado, or just a lover of well told stories, then you are most likely reading Saga. If you are not currently reading this series, you need to rectify that now and then come back and read this review because nothing should be spoiled when it comes to stories that are this good. This space-age soap opera from Vaughan and Staples is out of this world in terms of art, writing, character development, plot, and heart. This book makes you feel things and it leaves you worried about the characters long after you close the book. Issue #35 finds our star-crossed lovers (Marko and Alana) reunited and pulling a whole Bonnie and Clyde deal to get resources together to get their daughter Hazel back. Meanwhile, Hazel is being helped from an unlikely source and may not even need saving. The Will is continuing his downward spiral to crazy town as he takes orders from a ghost while holding the two reporters, Doff and Upsher, hostage as they also strive to find the family on the run. The story is slowly building to a surely spectacular issue #50 down the line and it is such a fun ride to be on with this creative team.
This book would be nothing without Fiona Staples and her art. Yes, Vaughan does bring the emotional storytelling, but this book first captures you with the vivid sharp lines, bright colors, and beautiful splash pages. She never gives an issue less than her very best and we should all be very thankful to her. This issue introduces a fabulous new character, Zlota, who looks like if Hedonismbot from Futurama was a space creature instead of a robot. Zlota is a sleazy club owner who is swimming in women, drugs, and information, but likes to partake in life’s many spoils of being a sleazy club owner. How Staples draws Zlota is great, with all these tiny details and warm color choices, it is just genius. We open the issue to a splash page introducing Zlota amidst near naked woman and what we can assume are space age narcotics and the colors are blue, purple with hints of yellow and gold. The art gets better throughout the issue with fight sequences being laid out perfectly to allow the eye to follow the action and pick up tiny details. This issue is just a single example of many that showcase what a truly fabulous and talented artist Fiona Staples is.
Now Brian K. Vaughan is not too shabby either; he also has some much deserved love coming his way for the great story he assembled. It is baffling to think that he has given us thirty-five consecutive great stories. Some comic writers can barely pull together five great consecutive great issues. This issue is a great example of how the story moves slightly to bring our family together, but so much happens outside of the direct family unit that it leaves the readers feeling satisfied. This issue saw Hazel grow to trust others outside the family and it influenced her relationship with her Grandma. Marko and Alana are also reaching a new level of trust in their marriage while trying to work toward a reunion with Hazel. All the while, The Will with his hostages/accomplices Upsher and Doff who are working to find them for their own agendas threatens the possible reunion. Each issue is filled with romance, character growth, action, and heart. Slowly, Mr. Vaughan has introduced us to this newly formed family, made us care about them, and tore them apart over thirty-five issues. We can imagine issue #50 will be a great culmination of everything they are working toward that will either have a happy family reunion or a more depressing one.
Saga is a comic book that will live long past each monthly issue.This is a title that will become a tried and true, well-worn trade you pass on to those you feel are worthy to learn the good news that is Saga. This issue is just an example, a tiny slice into a larger pie of goodness that is Saga. This book has delivered in story and art in the last thirty-five issues and it will continue to do so as long as Vaughan and Staples are at the helm. This duo is truly another great example of a creative genius team that feeds off of one another. If you are not reading Saga, do yourself a favor and pick up the first trade and start there, then work your way through the great story Vaughan and Staples have developed. Then, you can fully appreciate this issue and what it can offer.