Saga #59 is all about disruption. Disruption of family, of the crew, and even of friendships. After the excellent last chapter of Saga that explored widows and loss, issue #59 aims to shake things up. Given Alana and Hazel’s life is constantly in flux, it’s unfortunate for them that they continue to face trouble and change. That’s something Alana has aimed to curb, and the mission she completed last issue was meant to make things much more stable. Alas, Saga isn’t about stability – there’s no fun in that!
Saga #59 opens with the band/pirate crew fighting over writing credits. Hazel is on edge from their fighting but she’s less concerned about them and more concerned about her adopted robot brother. Right off the bat, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples show us Hazel is just a kid, but dealing with some serious stuff. Enter Alana, who has completed her mission for the space pirates and wants to get away as fast as possible with their deal complete. She means well, but it’s clear from the start that Hazel isn’t living a normal childhood even when bullets aren’t flying over their heads.
These scenes build toward a major confrontation between Alana and her new first mate Bombazine. Vaughan spouts some harsh truths through Bombazine at Alana that could spark a dramatic response in coming issues. Alana has always meant well, but she’s still reeling from the loss of her husband, and clinging to Hazel might be more for her benefit. Staples proves yet again she’s one of the best at character acting scenes in every panel of every page of this book.
As far as Bombazine, it’s interesting to see how he’s being used her after only briefly getting to know him. It’s a character that is still a mystery but is now being loaded into the chamber for some future use.
Speaking of future use, an alien from a previous arc pops up when an evil detective corners him. The subplot here pushes forward increasing tension as we know Hazel and Alana are soon to be even less safe than they already are. Vaughan and Staples are always good at capturing the complexities of characters evident here as a heinous act takes place with no remorse, but a bystander is a victim eliciting a response. The ability of characters to hate one race and feel remorse for an animal is a very real thing, adding humanity to a villain.
Often with Saga, the impact can be felt emotionally, which is mainly what you get in this issue, but also visually or with shock value. This issue lacks that, making it feel a little more of a standard melodrama than a fantastical one. There are still aliens present of course, rendered wonderfully by Staples, but this issue lacks the oomph of previous issues. Even the customary opening and closing splash pages are just all right. This issue also does more to prepare for future conflicts and internal struggles than deliver exciting reveals and revelations. You feel for these characters, but know the best is yet to come.
If you’re looking for melodrama, Saga #59 has it in droves. There’s conflict, hard truths, murder, and even a bit of romance in the end. The disruption of these characters’ lives comes more into focus as Alana is forced to admit being a mother on a run is not fair to anyone. For the 59th time, Saga proves it has some of the best character acting in all of comics. This issue is by all accounts another worthy entry into the series, although it does suffer compared to previous issues as it lacks impactful moments of shock and awe.
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