Saga #13: Back and Forth


The Eisner-award winning Brian K. Vaughan/Fiona Staples saga called Saga has been on hiatus since April, and it left us on a cliffhanger. However, Saga #13 doesn’t pick up where they left off – instead, there’s a rewind to see how our heroes – the star-crossed lovers Marko and Alana, their infant child Hazel, Marko’s irritable mother Klara and their half-ghost babysitter Izabel – wound up hiding in the attic of a cycloptic author named D. Oswald Heist while he’s being interrogated by a menacing TV-headed mechanoid named Prince Robot IV.

Marko is listless, in deep mourning after the loss of his father. Klara is wearing a veil as well, but she’s much more functional, as is her way, being a hardass and all. She thinks the Heist book that inspired her son to run off with Alana and bring the two warring worlds they’re from down on their heads for their audacity is “donkey shit,” but she’s going along with their foolish agenda because she doesn’t want to outlive her son as well as her husband, and she’s convinced this will get them all killed. Their arrival on the world called Quietus happens to put them in the middle of an ancient battlefield full of skeletons and weapons – but the skeletons are dangerous because of “bone bugs” who “reanimate marrow or some shit.” Kudos to Vaughan for finding a way to make reanimated skeletons work on a scientific level, because oh fuck, skeletons! The upside is we get to see Alana kick some ass with one hand on a mace and the other arm cradling her baby. And some ear biting.

The B-story here involves The Will, a bounty hunter who has been dealing with Marko’s vengeful ex-wife Gwendolyn, his pet Lying Cat who doesn’t like her, and the Slave Girl he rescued from a horrible coitus planet. They are in pursuit of the couple, but are currently stranded on a spikey planet and trying to figure a way off of it. The Will’s still mourning over the loss of his pseudo-girlfriend, a spidery contract hunter named The Stalk, at the hands of a jittery Prince Robot IV, who he’s sworn to kill, but he’s puffed enough of something to start hallucinating her presence, and his vision starts encouraging him to hook up with Gwendolyn and get out of the dirty business he’s in. The Will is messed up. Plus his name is The Will. But even though he’s kind of a bad guy, he’s somehow likable anyway. Well, the saving a kid from Planet Skeeve surely helped.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why I initially had such a hard time getting into Fiona Staples’ art style, because I love it now. It’s perfectly emotive, her faces are expressive, and her character designs are pretty cool. Some of the wardrobe choices feel a little more ‘fashion plate’ than maybe they should – Marko and Alana’s current outfits look like they’re straight out of a catalogue – but at least she has good taste.

Vaughan’s compelling cast of characters are back in good form, and Saga’s return is a welcome one. Sure, it was only a few months, but hey, I missed it and I’m glad it’s back.