Publisher: Image Comics
Released: December 27th 2017
Issues: Saga 43-48
Warnings: Miscarriage/related sensitive subjects, animal death
It feels like I’ve been waiting years for the next volume to come out, instead of just the few months it actually was; but it’s finally here! Saga vol. 8 is out and in my hands, and I couldn’t be happier. I was a little worried that this series wouldn’t survive the wait/hype for me (this was the first volume I had to wait for, the rest I was lucky enough to have binge read), but that concern proved to be a silly one. It’s just as intense as the last one though (I’m sure we all remember how the last one ended), so take a deep breath and maybe grab a box of tissues before you settle down to read it.
Warnings first: Okay, so if you’ve made it to volume eight of Saga, you’re probably more than aware of the fact that Brian Vaughn doesn’t pull punches. Combine that with some very real tragedies that affect our main characters, and things can get a little rough for us readers. Several character deaths are confirmed here, including Alana and Marko’s unborn baby boy. This leads not only to the discussion of what to do about it (to put it gently: the now deceased baby is still inside Alana, which is obviously very much not safe for her), as well as all of the emotional and moral questions that come along with the loss of a child. One of the character deaths confirmed is one of those “subtle unless you realize what they’re showing you” sort of things, as the character’s body has been made into a decoration shown. I found it a bit upsetting, so I figured I’d mention it.
I can’t get over what a whirlwind this volume was. Like the last several volumes, we can easily identify the passing of time based on how old little Hazel looks, though she’s not so little anymore. Every time I see an age jump for her it’s still alarming, and even though I know there’s still more to the story, it makes me worry that we’re that much closer to then end (and boy am I not prepared for that).
While putting a lot of time aside for the Alana/Marko plot (kind of hard to put that one down – Alana is in mortal danger, as well as having a pretty good reason to be upset) there’s some time set aside for character development with the rest of the crew, well most of them anyway. The cast is just large enough where we can’t really see them all in one volume, unless they were to somehow be in the same plot.
The ordeal Alana and Marko (and little Hazel, who both does and doesn’t understand what’s going on) is pretty heartbreaking. You can tell that they would do anything to undo what has already been done, but it’s too late. Marko’s blaming himself pretty heavily for things, but also taking up the protector job in this case (making sure that Alana gets medical care asap). Unfortunately the crossbreed nature of their departed child makes getting help for Alana rather difficult, which is why we find ourselves reading about an isolated (and “country themed”) planet. I’m curious to see if there will be any long term effects for Alana and what has happened to her (meaning the positive side of the effects, and yes I’m trying to be vague on purpose). I guess I’ll have to hope they drop some hints in the next volume.
Prince Robot IV and Petrichor also had a bit of time for character development, and it’s an interesting tale to say the least. Petrichor is hurting from all of her losses, as well as the lack of acceptance she feels within her own people. I’m sure we can all understand how hard that would be on her. Likewise Prince Robot IV is hurting – his wife is dead, he’s been split from his child (though at least he knows he’s safe), Alana pretty much loathes him, and he’s not really allowed back home (I’m assuming anyway). So together they make a pair of unloved outcasts looking for some comfort in this universe. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.
I’m still in awe of the writing and art styles used in this series. The artwork is absolutely stunning – the details and colors alone are enough to be sure it’s memorable, but it’s more than that. Combine that with the writing of Vaughn and we have an unforgettable and heavy hitting series that won’t let you go. I sincerely hope we’re not even halfway through this story, but there’s really no way to tell. One can only hope!