Saga. Considered to be one of if not the best book Image Comics is currently putting out. Written by Brain K. Vaughan, who wrote such praised books as Y: the Last Man, Ex Machina (my favorite of his works), Pride of Bagdad (my least favorite), and The Runaways. The comic has also won tons of Eisners to boot. We’re here with the latest issue, so let’s give it a looksee. Is it good?
Saga #22 (Image Comics)
After an Adam Sandler-inspired opening page, we check in to see how everyone in the cast is doing. Alana continues to become a drug addict to the point where her pusher is telling her to stop. Prince Robot IV gets back to his home in time for his wife’s funeral. Also, everything finally breaks down. Alana and Marko have a talk.
Unlike adults in this comic, or YouTube commentors who have a very difficult time using words.
So yeah, this is going to be one of the heavier and sadder issues for this series. It’ll also be hard to talk about with spoiling anything, so beware. This pretty much sparks the first big break in Marko and Alana’s relationship and pretty much has them breaking up right here, without using the actual words. There’s also Prince Robot IV dealing with the grief he has for not being there for his wife and then getting an abusive smackdown by his father. It’s probably hard to sit through these scenes and not feel their pain…
…I say probably because it wasn’t too much for me. Honestly, I just don’t feel sympathy (due to personal experience) for either Marko and Alana since they really brought this down all on their selves for being so immature and obviously not getting it. The only one I feel bad for this particular story is Hazel, but that’s it. Probably did not help that I didn’t feel attachment to either of them to begin with. Now that being said, what I did find effective and I did feel for was Prince Robot IV since I can fully understand his guilt and why he is in so much pain, considering he wasn’t there for the people he loved (from what I understand, he was still pretty much in reboot mode or something until they snapped him out last issue, so I don’t blame him like the others). I can see both of these scenes being very effective and emotional, since they genuinely are, but I can’t feel anything for one of them.
Hey narrator! We’re trying to have moment here, so could you shut up?
But that’s personal opinion and experience, what about the rest of the story? Well it’s good, although the ending was predictable considering what we learned last issue (didn’t call the people dying though, but no real loss). There was plenty of story progression and it was pretty much the fallout of all the buildup so far throughout this arc, so there was some payoff. Outside of the opening, there was only one other problem I had with the story. It was a plot point that felt extremely coincidental. What I mean by this is that considering how many variables and what kind of odds there would be for this moment to happen, it feels more artificial than natural (like that janitor being able to easily kill all those soldiers without much hassle this arc). Otherwise, the story here is fine and works better if you are completely invested in all of these characters and their stories (whereas I’m only invested in a few).
Brian K. Vaughan’s writing is of course solid and probably up to the standards of what you’d expect from Saga up to this point. The pacing is good and story is always moving, besides an uneventful (and immature) opening, so there’s never a slow or down moment in the book. The storytelling is strong, with all of the scenes well-constructed and flowing very well. Characterization is acceptable and is what you expect, though there are some moments where the characters act like complete idiots (no, a perfectly good idea to charge right at the creepy robot guy pointing a gun at your head) that make you scratch your head. Dialogue’s alright, but there’s nothing particularly special outside of the Prince Robot IV scene. I will say that some moments might work a bit better if there was no dialogue or narration, just letting the art convey the weight of a scene. Also, the story seems to try to have some funny moments into it, but they sometimes fall flat. All in all, the writing is good, but has some problems to it.
Cue ironic twist in three, two…
The artwork by Fiona Staples is good as well. The characters are drawn well and are expressive (with some exceptions and other times, it’s hard to take them seriously given how they look), the coloring is solid, the layouts are decent if average, the fact that every panel has a background is very appreciated, and it does it good job at conveying the emotions and heavy bits in the book. Besides that, there’s pretty much it. You’ll have no problems with the artwork.
Is It Good?
Saga #22 is a big issue that fans are not going to want to miss considering what goes down. While it wasn’t all that effective for me, I can see this being a very moving and sad issue for most everyone. The writing was fine, though had issues here and there, and the artwork is definitely appealing. Basically, if you’ve enjoyed Saga up until now, you’ll like this issue for sure.
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