I’ve been putting off reading the latest volume of Saga since I had heard it was devastating and that there would be at least a year hiatus until Vaughan and Staples picked back up working on this. Why sit with whatever terrible, soul crushing experience was waiting for me for over a year when I could just live with not knowing for the same amount of time?
Well, I abandoned that perfectly solid plan and gave in to temptation. It was just sitting there in my living room waiting for me and I’m not entirely made of stone. I read it, it broke my heart, but it also felt strangely thin to what I’ve come to expect from Saga. It also made me think deeply about how invested I am in characters that are de facto villains in this world (as their goals are directly in conflict with the goals of our heroes) and how that is going to play out moving forward. Vaughan and Staples are making us consider all the variables, all the competing motives, all the possible endgames. We know some things for sure, but not how we get to them. The sense remains that each storyline is part of this grand whole that is only slowly being revealed to the reader, that we’ve still only barely scratched the surface.
I’m still in love with this series. It remains the rare book to have humor, sorrow, wit, action, adventure, and beautiful drawings married in one text. It is sophisticated and unafraid to be crass when the story calls for it. The larger themes of family, love, and violence begetting nothing but more violence are firmly settled. But, I find myself wishing that this volume was more while simultaneously less at the same time. There connective tissue didn’t hold up to the major events contained within.