Oh. Em. Gee. Saga, Volume 7 might just be the saddest, most heart-wrenching thing I’ve read this year. It’s not quite at the nadir of A Fine Balance, but it comes close. I am struggling to recall a single positive and redeeming moment in this book. There’s … there’s a lot of bleakness and heartbreak here.
As with many a long-running series, I’m starting to run out of new and creative commentary. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples once again deliver a packed collection of chapters that both advance the story and drive the characters to new heights (or, er, in this case, depths). This volume might be notable for how it is more tightly focused on certain characters. There is a little bit of attention on the wider galactic politics, particularly as they involve a comet where much of the action takes place. For the most part, however, this story focuses on Alana, Marko, Hazel, and the people closest to them.
The worldbuilding remains top notch. I love the imagination and dedication involved in portraying such a diversity of intelligent, alien life in this universe. It isn’t just the myriad and miraculous forms that Staples depicts—it’s the whole aesthetic, the way everything fits together (or doesn’t), the very ideas involved, like a bounty hunter with two heads. As someone who doesn’t visualize when I read, I find that this is where the graphic novel medium excels for me. I just finished Terminal Alliance, in which Jim C. Hines similarly attempts to describe a diverse universe. But because it was just words on paper, I couldn’t picture it, so I had got a lot less from his descriptions than I do from something like Saga.
Although Hazel is growing up, she is less prominent here except as a plot device around which the other characters revolve. Indeed, it’s hard to say that any of the regular cast really shine as protagonists in this book. It seems more like they have things happen to them, and react, as they each struggle with their own demons. That isn’t a bad thing—if anything, it just makes this volume feel more like an interlude from one massive adventure to the next. Where will the ship go next? What will Marko be like now? How will he and Alana deal with this latest round of setbacks? And when will their paths finally cross with the Will, still broken and now disbarred from the bounty hunting union, scheming a way to get back everything he feels has been ripped away from him. Will Sir Robot find his kid?
I miss Ghüs.