Originally published at InfiniteComix.com
Month after month (with the occasional hiatus), Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples find a way to put their readers through an emotional ringer. Saga #29 is no different. With each passing installment, it becomes abundantly clear that the title of Vaughan and Staples’ intergalactic tale refers just as much to the reading experience as it does the journey which Marko and Alana have found themselves on. Readers will laugh, and they will cry. They will smile, and they will pout. And in the end, they will continue to push forward.
The combination of wildly imaginative imagery with contemporary dialogue has made Saga such an enduring hit, but don’t discount Fiona Staples’ ability to shock readers with some of the filthiest art in mainstream comics. The image of a dragon self-fellating is forever burned into my mind both because of what it is, and how… gorgeous(?) Staples makes it appear. It’s a feat that few artists can pull off once, let alone multiple times over the course of an ongoing series.
Staples is capable of more than disgusting readers. Even without Vaughan’s script, readers would be able to fully understand the issue’s plot due to her deft storytelling ability. Whether it is the panicking plea of Alana, or frustrated cursing of Prince Robot IV, Staples’ manages to convey the emotional beats of each sequence.
Saga is a collaborative effort, and as fantastic as Staples’ art is, Brian K. Vaughan’s script is a draw all unto itself. Though it can be crass to the point of being off putting, Vaughan’s grasp of raw, contemporary language makes this book such an immersive experience. Characters that have no business being likable are beloved by readers due to the authenticity Vaughan builds into each one. And for some, it only makes their inevitable demise more brutal. Saga #29 sees the death of several characters that were initially introduced as antagonists. Yet their deaths are just as emotional for readers as those of protagonists. It’s because Saga shows readers on a repeated basis that its characters are complex with both good and bad traits shaping their actions.
Saga #29 is another strong effort from the powerhouse team of Vaughan and Staples. As this latest arc barrels towards its conclusion, no one appears to be safe – especially the reader and their emotions. This is a book that should not be missed.