Saga: Chapters 58-60
- Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
- Illustrator: Fiona Staples
It’s hard not to say that, as a whole, Saga Volume 10 was a bit of a let down. I recognize that six chapters amongst a planned 108-chapter story is but a drop in the bucket, but, on the whole, I’m struggling to come up with any major plot or character developments that unfolded by the end of the last page. It’s refreshing to see that Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have kept up the series’ consistency after such a long hiatus, continuing to expand on the seemingly endless number of worlds and characters at play.
When last we left Alana, Hazel, and their motley crew, they had teamed up with a like-minded group of smugglers. Alana had been coerced by Skipper to deliver a shipment of Fadeaway to a nearby planet, and Hazel, Bombazine, and Squire bond with the other members of the ship, who open Hazel and Squire to the joy of music. Exploring one’s creative side has always been a subversive plot point throughout Saga, as its characters find their own ways to express themselves while living in fear and fighting a never-ending war. It’s Hazel who takes to the musicians most, sneaking away the band’s albums and marveling at her ability to read sheet music. Chapter Sixty in particular does a nice bit of work in rekindling Hazel and Alana’s relationship, especially after they spend much of this volume physically apart. If there’s one bright spot in this volume, it’s in Hazel and her budding adolescence. Vaughan’s usage of Hazel as the narrator and how she sees the world continues to pay off nicely, as she not only foreshadows her later life but puts her own experiences into a larger perspective.
Despite a nice detour on the distant moon and some dialogue with a new character, Alana remains mostly unchanged (though she is sporting a unique hairdo by the end of it). Her conversation with the Fadeaway buyer is subtly written as they touch on the subject of lost love, but I don’t know where her mindset is at by the end of the last issue. Are her priorities any different now, after their interactions with the Skipper’s crew? Perhaps she’ll have some newly surfaced trust issues, or maybe she’ll become even more protective of Hazel and Squire.
If there’s any lingering questions I’d like to see answered in forthcoming installments, it’s in Bombazine’s curious abandonment of Alana and the crew. Skipper definitely knows something about his past which he’d like to keep hidden, and it will be interesting to see how Vaughan brings him back. Of course, this chunk of chapters also introduces a new threat: Special Agent Gale of Landfall Secret Intelligence, a ruthless assassin (though not a sanctioned bounty hunter like The Will) who’s tasked with tracking down and eliminating literally anyone that’s come into contact with Alana, Marko, and Hazel. His introduction is textbook Saga – tied up and naked in a BDSM dungeon.
Notably absent, or at least lacking a major contribution from Chapters 58-60 is The Will, who continues to work with the Robot Kingdom as they try to parse out how Prince Robot IV died. The Will’s place in this universe remains an intriguing bit of story – will he be an ally to our heroes or continue to serve his own self interests? I don’t need or expect any grand-scale shifts to happen in each volume, or some kind of Game of Thrones-style storytelling, where any character can be killed at any time. Sometimes it’s nice to see the subtle shifts that characters take from beginning to end (see above RE: Hazel). A world with new issues of Saga is unquestionably much better than a world without, and I haven’t praised Fiona Staples’ continued excellence at visualizing the story in these chapters. The final page of Chapter Sixty does indeed present an interesting conundrum for our band of heroes, as they’re now left stranded without a ship, but it’s troubling that my initial reaction was one of passivity and not one of shock.