Saga. What does one say about Saga? It’s a force of nature. Impossibly grand in scope while remaining completely character driven. And while there are arguably two (and a half) main characters — Alana, Marko, and toddler Hazel — the secondary players are just as well-developed, sympathetic, and alive as the mains. It’s sophisticated yet totally crass, complex and bizarre yet familiar and universal.
It’s utterly audacious. It’s the type of story that gives you this disgustingly adorable anthropomorphic baby seal character, right out of a children’s story:
but surprise! he’s actually a goddamn warrior who hangs out amongst drug overdoses and other adult-ass milieu. (Not a spoiler, everyone’s fine.)
This review is not, so far, very specific to Volume 5, but suffice it to say that this latest installment is more of the same awesomeness you should have come to expect from the rest of the series. Fortunately, it was less devastating than Volume 4 (aka the one where everyone yells and do I still believe in love?) but still promises no end in sight to the struggle Alana and Marko will continue to endure to protect and rebuild their family.
You know who else needs a damn break? Well, everyone, but especially Marko’s ex Gwendolyn. She’s tough as nails, but a part of that exoskeleton is built from sheer rage. She’s a survivor and extremely capable fighter, but her emotional instability causes her to think and act rashly, sabotaging her goals. I love her character because while she clearly needs to heal, she’s not portrayed as broken. She’s someone who has been through heartbreak, and it’s affected and even driven her, but her companions know they don’t have to treat her with kid gloves because she can still handle herself. Which, intergalactic conflict aside, is actually pretty realistic. Heartbroken people — heartbroken WOMEN — don’t actually completely fall to pieces all the time. Strong emotions exist, sure, but brains are actually capable of processing them alongside those other tasks that keep us functioning and, most of the time, in control.
Just read this damn story. It’s a completely unique and engrossing experience.