On the heels of a shocking revelation, Saga continues guns ablazing, but does an unexpected twist derail this bullet train? The answer is just a click away.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Stapes
Letters Design: Fonograpfiks
Coordinator: Eric Stephenson
When it comes to serial storytelling, the cliffhanger is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, cliffhangers allow a story to end on a moment that not only makes you remember where you are, but also makes you anticipate what's going to happen next. On the other hand, too many cliffhangers of the same nature could become wearisome and eat into the appeal of the story as a whole. Not to mention that certain cliffhangers are so memorable that following up the story in an unexpected manner could throw someone off, something that I felt with this week's issue of Saga. Does such an unexpected twist hurt the overall product? Thankfully, Saga #4 didn't fall into this trap in the slightest.
Story and Writing:
For those not in the know, Saga #3 ended with one doozy with a spoiler as Alana (and ourselves) found out that her almost dead husband (Mako) seemingly had another wife in Gwendolyn. With such a huge hanging thread to end the issue on, I definitely expected immediate follow up, only to be thrown for a loop when the story of this issue started in Sextillion and the bounty hunter that had been assigned to follow our main protagonists and their daughter. However when all was said and done, this may have been the story that we needed more.
Even though it's only been 4 issues, "Saga" has already established numerous strengths from world building, to its' the multi-dimensional plot. However, the one aspect of Saga that I consider the strongest would have to be the character stories that connect the threads of this still newborn story, and the latest chapter is no exception, as we follow The Will on his quest to forget he ever accepted the bounty in the first place. What I expected to be a romp in sexual depravity, turned into an amazing character piece by Vaughan's use of one of the darkest aspect of the Sex Trade. In that one scene, we not only learn the limits of The Will's monstrosity, but we also understand that he might the least evil of those forces we'll meet on the main character's journey.
Speaking of the main characters, they aren't forgotten in this issue, as we do get a follow-up to last issue's final note as Mako spills the beans to Alana about his old flame, a sequence that was satisfying for two reasons. The first of these reasons is the fact that Alana handles the revelation in a balanced, yet believable manner that takes into account both the life and death situation her family faces and the love she feels for her new husband. At the same times, there's enough left in the air to not close the door on the plot point entirely, and with the way Brian K. Vaughan has been writing this series so far, that's a welcomed piece of news.
When Saga was first announced last year, the title already had a built in cache of hype due to the writer, however I couldn't help but be enthralled at the first showcase of Fiona Staples' drawing in this story. From that moment, I knew that she would play a huge role in shaping the memorable visuals that will stay with readers throughout this story, and she has yet to disappoint. From the very minute you open up the book you're greeted by two creatures that are meant to both fascinate and frighten at the same time. From there, Staples shows off her range character and background wise, as she's able to juggle the disturbingly peaceful snowy peaks of the Fort Mountain beyond Rocketship Forest, to the psychedelic bombastic depravity of Sextillion, Saga #4 definitely worth studying and admiring from an artistic standpoint as well.
My Final 22 Cents:
In some ways, Saga #4 seemed like a bit of a cool down issue that's designed to put our characters in the places they need to be for the conclusion of the first character arc, but with the quality that's displayed all around, that's something I can deal with just fine. With the year halfway over, Saga has not only become the top contender for the new series of the year, but is on the shortlist for series of the year, as well. Don't wait for the collected editions ladies and gentlemen, get on board with "Saga" as soon as you can. You will not regret sticking your neck out there for this.
Final Judgement: ****1/4
Review by: Linwood Earl Knight