Written by Guest Contributor: Jordan North Saga # 18 is as much an end as a beginning. Equal parts loss, love and realization, this issue feels like the closing of one door and the opening of another for Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ever-terrific Sci-Fantasy tale.
Picking up in the midst of issue #17`s chaos, issue #18 features a lot of parties doing a lot of separate things. Kicking off the madness we get treated to a wonderful moment as Marko’s mom Klara reaches a breaking point while being stared down by the yellow eyes of Lying Cat, forced into intimidation while lying next to the corpse of her late enamoree, Oswald Heist. Her declaration, “I’ve had enough” is a real hurrah moment for a character whose had to endure so much and, as much as I love him, Lying Cat totally deserved that thumb to the eye. And Izabel icing the cake by driving LC off by taking control of his self- conscious through ghost hallucination? RAD. “Leave, or so help me I will haunt your ass”. Indeed. Rock on Izzy.
Up at the lighthouses peak tensions reach a boiling point as Marko’s heartbroken (and maybe more than a little insane) ex-lover Gwendolyn has Marko, Alana and their baby Hazel in a tight spot. As easy as it is to hate Gwen and all her manic spite, she too is a character we grow to feel for over the issues, that empathy peaking here. Heartbroken by Marko’s loss and driven wild by the inability to help the new love of her life The Will she ends up as a pretty sympathetic and pathetic character who just wants to be loved, *sniff, too bad she boarded the crazy train, could have been a nice girl. The end result of the conflict ends powerfully as well as Marko’s “sacrifice” of throwing his wife and child off the lighthouses peak to be spared the point of the hit-woman’s nightmarish metal-whip-gun thing turns into a heartwarming gesture of trust as Alana stares Marko down incredulously after flying herself and her child to safety. “How did you know?” she asks “What? That my wife can do anything?” Marko is a good dude.
Perhaps the rawest deal of all is gotten by the ill-fated Prince Robot IV who staggers off from the fires of the battle cracked and broken, will he return? Who knows, but he’s a character that I personally will say I could stand to see a lot more of, the mythos of the royal “Robot” clan feel like they have many more interesting things to show us. Kudos to Vaughan who makes an odd neurosis of a terrifying character into a joke for a darkly hilarious sendoff here.
The final narration of Hazel is one of a, “new chapter” type persuasion (ending in a delightful literal “new step”) that really gives us the feeling that Saga is ready to turn the page and take a swan dive deeper into what has been some of the best and most imaginative lore in comics in the past few years, and Jesus H. Christ am I ready for the trip.
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan Artist: Fiona Staples Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 1/29/14