This isn't a review so much as a disjointed collection of thoughts about Saga, Volume 5. I mean, the problem with these reviews is that it always boils down to more of the same. Buy Saga. Read it, in order. Do it!
Whenever I read graphic novels, I try to talk about the art and artist, since these are obviously important parts of the medium. And it’s with great respect when I say that I don’t give the art of a graphic novel as much attention as I should; I prefer words, which is why I prefer regular novels. But Volume 5 has some very explicit scenes, so it provides a good opportunity to discuss Fiona Staples’ artwork.
Saga is fairly conventional when it comes to its panel layout, so that helps. The panels are different on each page, and occasionally they’re skewed rather than perpendicular—but they are always generally quadrilateral and well-defined. Despite sticking to this conservative schema, Staples employs a great variety of panel dimensions and layouts to help tell the story. She can effortlessly convey a sense of motion, or give us a big hero shot to emphasize a particular moment.
This has always been an adult comic, and its artwork reflects that. This volume is no different, and perhaps even a little more. I mean, that two-page spread with the dragon is just … uh … wow.
Also, can we pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that Ghüs is amazing and possibly the best character in the entire series and I don’t want him to die please oh please don’t kill him?
Let’s pause and do that.
There is lots of dying in here. No spoilers, of course, just a reminder that Vaughan and Staples are GRRMing the shit out of this series: anyone and everyone can and will die, no guarantees, no warning. It’s a good thing, because like Game of Thrones they have a tremendous cast of characters, and no, and I can’t remember everyone’s name. That’s what wikis are for.
This volume might be the most insane yet in turns of plot twists. Saga continues to ramp up, with the stories going in directions both predictable and unforeseen, providing a nice mixture of reward for invested readers and twists that will keep us invested.
And Ghüs is the best!