Spoiler alert! This review reveals significant plot details.
Yes, it’s another review of Saga, this time of Volume Three, the last of three volumes I bought for a friend. It’s hard to think of original things to say, having read and reviewed the first two in quick succession. So let’s look at the journey Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are taking us on after nearly twenty issues of this incredibly story.
I’m impressed at the complexity of the supporting cast. Kiara, Marko’s mother, spends much of this volume processing her husband’s death. It’s a significant subplot that affects how she related to the others present in Heist’s lighthouse, including the ornery pacifist author himself. Through these multi-generational moments, Vaughan justifies the somewhat generic name for Saga here. Kiara is walking around with a whole lot of prejudices. But she wants what is best for her child and her grandchild, and a good part of this volume concerns her need to reconcile her prejudices with Alana and Marko’s relationship. (I enjoyed the moment where she is watching them out the window of the lighthouse and asks, “What is Alana doing? Is she prayiny—no, no she is not.”)
Likewise, the Will and Gwendolyn really undergo a huge transition in this volume. At the beginning they are nearly at each other’s throats, and by the end, Gwendolyn is forced to tell Marko that “the man I love” is dying. She is forced to confront her hypocrisy of falling in love with a man from another species even as she hunts Marko for much the same “crime.” I admit I was a little sceptical about Gwendolyn falling for the Will so quickly. One of the limitations of graphic novels, however, unlike its wordier sibling, is that it is more expensive to devote time to flashbacks and other backstory exposition. So there is a lot we don’t know about Gwendolyn (or the Will, for that matter, although there are some interesting revelations concerning his family life towards the end of this volume) that might come up in future issues.
If I thought Volume Two ended with an excellent cliffhanger, then Volume Three is not a disappointment either. Vaughan allows some time to pass. Hazel foreshadows that the antagonists and our heroes are going their separate ways for “a very long time.” I still think Prince Robot IV is a dick, but I kind of like Gwendolyn and the Will, and I really want the best for them. So, you know, stupid Vaughan and Staples for making me care about people who want our heroes captured or killed! I shake my fist at you.
This is not the place to jump in if you haven’t read Saga before. Do yourself a favour and pick up the first two volumes. But as far as I’m concerned as a days-old fan of the series, it just keeps getting better.