Did … did good things just happen to our protagonists?
Excuse me while I check if I’m actually reading Saga, Volume 8 and not some impostor. Because … because … GOOD THINGS HAPPENED, FOLX. I mean, yeah, shitty things happened too. Don’t get me wrong; there’s still conflict and loss here. But … good things! And Ghüs!! I missed Ghüs!!
This volume opens with Alana and Prince Robot looking for medical help in … Abortion Town. Right away, I’m sinking back into what I love about Saga: this series pulls no punches. Light-years away in space and who knows how far in time, yet this story still comments on issues that are relevant today. Whether it’s control over one’s pregnant body or the medicalization of trans people, Saga isn’t afraid to address it in a way that’s natural and relevant within the context of the story. Fiona Staples’ art backs up Brian K. Vaughan’s writing in this way: we see such a diversity of shapes and forms and ways of being.
The settings of Saga remind me in some ways of Farscape. Both series attempt to depict a universe far more fluid and alien than some science fiction would ask us to imagine. (Moreover, being a graphic novel series, Saga of course has more of “budget” to depict this vision than a television series could). We’re talking anthropomorphic owls and robots with TVs for heads, people, and it is glorious. Because when you have such a cosmopolitan view of the universe, the species and societies and problems within, your stories become infinitely richer and more complex. Just as the overall enmity between the Peacekeepers and Scarrans hung over the entirety of the Farscape part of the cosmos, so too does the enmity between Wreath and Landfall touch everything that happens here.
And right in the middle of this epic story we find Alana, Marko, and Hazel.
If I have any criticism of this volume, perhaps it’s simply that we don’t see comparatively much of these three. They are present and central to what’s happening, and there are some really good moments among them as they continue to process their familial loss. Yet, in some ways the story is happening to and around them. There’s a lot more going on between Petrichor and Prince Robot, or in the separate storylines of The Will and Ghüs/Prince Robot’s son.
With that being said, compared to the sad, painful story I read in Volume 7 last year, this volume was … hopeful. Especially that ending. And I fucking love the new villain and the way in which she discovers Hazel’s existence.
Basically, while Saga, Volume 8 in some ways feel like a breath between two story arcs, it’s a very necessary breath. It is probably a calm before the storm, and I am here for whatever Staples and Vaughan rain down on them next.