It says something about this series that this heart-wrenching volume of storytelling is a relief after the last one. Oy, that last one was rough. But this was one was more bittersweet than bitter. Something that I have always appreciated about this series is its tone. Like real life, everything isn’t all bad or all good all the time. Real life is messy, and you can feel many things at once. Real life has hills and valleys, and flat plains. One of the reasons I gave up on reading The Walking Dead is that it was unrelentingly bleak and unchanging in tone (among other reasons). Not Saga. Vaughan and Staples vary their series the way a composer varies a symphony, and they have many tools in their bag.
Not least of which is SPOILERS Alana and Marko’s miscarried son giving her temporary magical powers, one of which allows for a forecasting spell that projects Alana’s idea of who her son might have become had he survived. Watching that son interact with Hazel, and then watching as he fades away END SPOILERS.
Alana, Marko, Hazel, Petrichor, and Prince Robot have traveled to the only world that will possibly be able to remove the deceased child from inside Alana. They can’t go to Wreath to see the sorcerers who would normally complete the procedure because Alana has wings, and they can’t go to a Landfall planet because they will clearly be able to see the baby had horns. So they end up at a backwater planet that performs abortions, but not even they will perform what they see as a late-term, eighth month abortion (I was a bit confused about this at first, why they didn’t just tell them the baby had already died? But maybe it’s because they would have had to admit it was a Wreath child, which apparently don’t come out on their own after the woman has miscarried?)
They’re all still processing the events from Vol. 7, and some of them are having a harder time than others. The lingering pregnancy actually turned out to be a great way to externalize the internal grief they’re all feeling.
And then there’s Petrichor. I’ve always liked her, ever since she was introduced in Vol. 6, but here for me they take her to the next level. I laughed SO HARD when she went out to perform her magical ritual, and then it turned out she just wanted sex.
Of course, she’s Petrichor, so underneath all of her bluster and sharp retorts, she’s actually in some serious pain. She also has some great moments with Hazel and Prince Robot, not to mention there’s this great moment where SPOILERS Marko leaves his translator ring with her, and she asks if it’s “some weird thrupple thing” and if so, she’s “not necessarily opposed.” I LOVE HER END SPOILERS.
There’s also an issue stuffed in here that shows us what The Will is up to, and man can I just tell you, I want that man to get his shit together very, very badly. I’ve just about had it with him and his sad sack nonsense. It’s time for him to catch a clue and get on the right side of things, and stop wallowing in his own guilt.
[4.5 stars, rounded up]