Saga has returned and it is a glorious feeling knowing each month we’ll get one more chapter in the second half of the series. Saga #58 is a good issue, further exploring the loss of Marko, progressing the plot surrounding Bombazine’s secret as a murderous soldier, and the growing threat of a force that wants to wipe any evidence of Hazel out of existence.
Alana continues her life as a solo parent, but to make do and pay the bills she has also taken up drug smuggling. Along with her new partner Bombazine, the three have recently encountered some pirates who have required Alana to do some smuggling on a very anti-drug planet. We’re talking death on sight for doing it. Picking up where we left off in Saga #57, Alana begins that mission while machinations are at work to destroy everything Alana loves.
The issue opens with Alana midway through delivering drugs when the guy with the cash ends up being a widower himself. This chunk of the story allows Brian K. Vaughan to explore their familiar situation and how their experiences aren’t the same. Losing the love of your life is no simple topic and Vaughan explores it masterfully. It’s a topic you don’t often see in any media, let alone comics.
Much of the rest of the issue is focused on progressing the plot as far as threats from far away and up close. The pirate ship captain, for instance, has already given Alana some trouble and in this issue focuses his attention on Bombazine. If you’re familiar with the hero’s journey, this character is a trickster — a bit chaotic, friendly but also threatening. It’s going to be interesting to see what he does when the stakes are raised.
Fiona Staples is always good at capturing the complex emotions these characters go through. Alana is reminiscing about her husband, but also reflecting on her own response to his loss. Every facial expression seems to tell a story in itself. In Bombazine’s case, he’s dealing with PTSD and guilt, but also subverting the rage that’s born inside him as he deals with the pirate ship captain. You’ll equally feel for him, but also fear him as he’s as in control of his emotions as one might think.
There are also standout full-page splashes that open and close the issue you’ll admire. Staples has a way of creating aliens that are a blend of scary, cute, and familiar, and you get that in the opening Cthulu rabbit. The closing page is unnerving, yet somehow charming as we see danger looms for beloved characters.
Other elements continue to develop around these characters, like the band that graces the cover. Hazel is starting to get the hang of playing music, frustrating as it may be, and it’s clear that social dynamics are a bit new for her. As an only child, Hazel is likely going through some growing pains in this situation.
As this series is wont to do, issue #58 features a bit of sex. Saga has always treated sex, and kinks in particular, with respect. A key scene involves a man strapped to some boards ready to be whipped for pleasure and it’s conveyed in a matter-of-fact and naturalistic way. This is just how some people get off, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Saga #58 is a great example of how mature and modern sci-fi can be. There’s literally nothing else like it as it approaches to sex, violence, and loss in complex ways. All of those things are conveyed in this issue, making Saga a delight for the senses and the mind.
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