Saga has returned from its three-year hiatus and reintroduced readers to Hazel, Alana, and a bunch of new characters living in a new status quo. The second issue in the latest story arc is out this week and Alana is just trying to be a good mom, get a legit job, and not be killed by the pirates looming outside her spaceship. Easier said than done when Alana is trading in drugs!
This issue opens with a crew of pirates welcoming Alana’s partner Bombazine after their ship was commandeered within a giant spaceship that looks like a skeleton. It’s unclear whether our heroes are in danger or not, although the captain of the pirate ship is extremely friendly. It’s a good example of how Brian K. Vaughan does a great job of introducing new and colorful characters quickly.
That’s also largely thanks to Fiona Staples, who always seems to find a good balance when it comes to new gangs, duos, and the like who meet our heroes. There are some colorful wrinkles with this crew too, like unlimited ice cream for Hazel, a giant room of records, and the fact that this crew is also a band. The record room is particularly interesting as Staples weaves the bone structure of the ship around what looks like simple wood boards that hold records two stories high. All that, and if you dig the weird alien animals this series has thrown you there’s a new one with a special power that might rival Lying Cat’s abilities.
Vaughan continues to explore Hazel’s experience well through captions. She continues to narrate the story from some point in the future, adding commentary to dialogue at the moment as if she’s a ghost in the scene or somehow playing back every scene. It continuously adds a human element that allows the reader to connect to the narrative, making the sometimes ridiculous or over-the-top stuff come off as natural and believable.
If there was ever a chapter in Saga that felt too good to be true, this is probably it. The final few pages take a turn and you’ll feel very worried for Alana. Pleasantries and free ice cream aren’t quite enough to make a pirate seem safe to be around. The cliffhanger puts Alana in a tough position while also teetering on the opportunity to get her family into a safe trade.
That cliffhanger is a bit tough to swallow entirely, though. The crew of this pirate ship they’ve encountered seems rather chill and they even have a robot person on board who hates where he came from. Why would there be prejudice from a crew that’s clearly open-minded on some scale? We’ve also got very little to go on as far as the aggressor character, so it’s really unclear how things will play out making the cliffhanger feel more like a shock-value ender.
This issue also delves into Prince Robot’s narrative. You might forget he’s been long dead but the machinations of royalty dying appear to never cease. There’s a hilarious king that’s revealed to have a flat-screen TV head, which throws into question how these robots get their heads at all. Up till this point they’ve all had old school tube TV heads. Staples’ ability to draw body language is hugely impactful here, especially with no facial expressions on their screens. The occasional program pops up to add nice context into what they are thinking or feeling, though.
Saga #56 is filled with new characters, concepts, environments, and more. It’s the kind of issue that throws so much new weirdness at the reader you’ll be excited just to learn more about how it all fits into Hazel and Alana’s survival in the cosmos.
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