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Saga #25 Review

"On the Run"
It’s been a little while since the last issue of Saga and even longer since I’ve reviewed an issue, but Saga #25 has a little bit of everything. In the last issue of Saga, Dengo, a grieving father from the Robot Kingdom who snapped and murdered the Robot Queen (take a second to appreciate the insanity of those words together) has taken Hazel hostage, along with Alana and her mother-in-law Klara. He’s an armed, unpredictable murderer, so everyone is understandably on edge. Klara wants to kill Dengo with a wood shiv she fashions, but Alana worries it could put Hazel in danger.   Saga #25   Meanwhile, Marko has teamed up with Prince Robot IV to find Dengo since the Prince’s newborn son has also been kidnapped by Dengo (not to mention that he murdered IV’s wife). However, the Robot Kingdom is on the opposite side as Wreath, so IV is not happy to have to work with Marko. Marko, stressed at losing his daughter, is on edge and will not take IV’s guff. Another meanwhile is where Gwedolyn, The Brand (The Will’s sister), Lying Cat, Sophie, and Sweet Boy are on the hunt for an ingredient (which appears to be, I kid you not, dragon semen) to save The Will, who is on death’s door. It's not going well for them.   So clearly there is a lot happening in Saga #25 and that doesn’t even take into account that the first five pages of the issue are a sort of historical-philosophical accounting of war and class, as represented by the Landfall-Wreath conflict. The scene changes do speed up the story because since we check in on everybody, we don’t get to spend very long with any of the groups. That’s one of the drawbacks of large casts in general, and Saga generally uses the range of characters to its advantage so it’s a big deal to me that occasionally we get an issue that moves fast.   Saga #25   One of the things that stands out in Saga #25 is the way that writer Brian K. Vaughan uses an older Hazel as the narrator of the series. So we see young Hazel (and her family) but her narration is past tense. This has been the case for the whole series but it occasionally stands out because narrator-Hazel will reveal story-future information that we don’t know. Occasionally, it’s cryptic enough for multiple interpretations (her parents “splitting up”), but in Saga #25, narrator-Hazel reveals, referring to Marko that “…it would be YEARS before the two of us would see each other again.” Rather than being spoilery, this info nugget is actually very intriguing.   The art from Fiona Staples is par usual quite good in Saga #25. Her ability to have so many characters so distinctive is a tribute to her character design sense, and she seamlessly moves from one group to another with ease. She also nicely makes the intro passage look different from the rest of the issue, retro in a war filmstrip sort of way.   Saga #25   Where the issue falters – ever so slightly – is in that intro, though. It’s an interesting concept by Vaughan and Staples: that war has gradually been hoisted on to the poor classes to the benefit of the upper class, but it doesn’t really have all that much to do with Saga #25. Dengo’s situation isn’t only due to class. The section feels a little preachy, too, and I think we could have used those five pages of real estate on one of the story fronts.   Alana’s drug problem is another problematic plot point, too. Saga has not shied away from hot-bottom issues, but her drug addiction teeters on venturing into an “After Special” tone. So I hope that will be resolved or furthered in an unexpected way. Aside from these relatively minor quibbles, though, Saga #25 is still very enjoyable. I’ll be curious to see if Vaughan and Staples continue to use a three-location breakdown for upcoming issues or if we’ll stay with one group for a longer look.
  • We get to check in with every major character
  • The action moves smoothly and efficiently
  • Having a future Hazel tells the story gives us some interesting clues
  • The introduction about war, while effective, doesn't really connect to the rest of the story
  • It's a small part of the issue, but the discussion of Alana's drug use is somewhat clumsy


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