Review: Saga #13
After a four-month hiatus, the critically acclaimed series Saga has returned to shelves for its #13. Those worried that the long delay would possibly mean a dip in quality from writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples will be happy to hear that the latest issue is another great entry for this series. Vaughn is able to weave together drama, a compelling plot, vulgarity, and natural humor into this continuing story that contains important and all too human themes of family, survival, political strife, and even the effects of war.
The opening section of the issue is a very cut-off sort of prelude that doesn’t involve the main story that has been developed in the past issues. It is here where two characters are introduced that will most likely be important to future issues, but for now their introduction remains a separated section from the normal proceedings and an odd way to start after a long hiatus. However, this quick storyline gives readers an in-depth view of a Landfallian medical hospital that mirrors too painfully real world medical conditions for soldiers. Powerful imagery is on display here, whether it is the flying rat leaving droppings as it moves down a hallway, a ripped propaganda poster saying “Troops Are Our Treasure” on a bulletin board of this poor conditioned hospital, or even the army veteran homeless man in front of the hospital in his shirt decorated with possible peace buttons/war medals. It is sections like this that make Saga resonate so well with readers, as Vaughn can take a outlandish concept with different species and other space tropes and ground it into a reality that feels all too familiar to human nature.
The rest of the issue is well paced and Vaughn is able to split time effectively between Marko and Alana’s group and what is happening with The Will and Gwen in their pursuit. Though the overall plot doesn’t advance much in this issue and acts as a prequel to #12’s storyline, there are still great occurrences that happen. Alana and Klara discussing their current mission to go find D. Oswald Heist helps to explain once again why the group is on their current mission, and the audience gets to experience how Marko’s grandfathers death has affected the family in a big way. A thrilling action scene involving “bone bugs” is a fun and intense fight to behold visually, and these creatures join the growing list of amazingly weird creatures in the Saga universe. Meanwhile, The Will possibly hallucinates a past character, and parts of the series such as the heavy sexual tension between Gwen and The Will or the lack of a name for Slave Girl are poked at in a meta way through the dialogue. While the ending of the issue lacks an extremely intense cliffhanger as Saga fans are very used to by this point, it is an emotional and fitting ending that is sure to warm even the most hard of hearts.
Fiona Staples may just draw the most beautiful comic on shelves. The fact that she not only pencils, but also inks and colors the series is a great testament to the work that she puts in. Once again, she delivers with this issue, with a highlight being the bone bugs fight. Though that is the only major action of the issue, Staples is at her strength in making her characters expressive through both facial and body actions. Seeing The Will smoking as he looks at a picture of himself and The Stalk or a bearded Marko staring off into the abyss of space do enough without dialogue to show the reader just what type of emotions these characters are experiencing.
Saga has returned to the comic world with another excellent offering. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples are crafting arguably the best comic currently out right now, and with a new story arc starting hopefully new fans can jump onboard by reading the two collected trades and picking up issue #13. They will not be disappointed, as this series continues to amaze everyone with its great blend of superb storytelling and beautiful artwork.
Saga #13 gets a 4.5/5