Page 45 Review by Stephen
"So yeah, your pet just menstruated all over the living room."
If you think that's easily fixed with a little hydrogen peroxide, that pet is a walrus.
Our fastest-seller series of trades, SAGA is above all a comedy romance in a science-fiction setting which is light on the science and thrilling in its fiction. J-Lo and I both emphasise its complete unpredictability. Who knew, for example, that we would suddenly fast-forward to when Alana and Marko's baby Hazel is now a toddler?
This gives father Vaughan even more material to mine for your mirth because as well as exhausting you and plaguing you with lurgy after lurgy like some bacterial relay race, these miniature biological warfare agents don't half land you in it, don't they? The things they blurt out!
Jonathan's own three year old nutjob flashed me her knickers the other day from the backseat of Joanna's car. As they drove away she said, "He's a nice man. He's a very nice man". That one's going to be trouble as a teenager.
Here Hazel lands Marko in it several times but I won't reveal how. I will remind you of how epic the series will prove to be, however, in that an adult Hazel is its narrator.
"Soak it up, I'm not always this adorable."
Owning an invaluable sense of retrospect, the narration can clobber you with a prediction or two which you know to be true and the concluding words to the very first chapter will tear your heart asunder.
Boy, I'm being mean tease today!
Marko and Alana have been on the run almost ever since they were first thrust together. She's from the planet Landfall; he's from its moon. They're not just from different races, they are entirely separate species and those species have been at war for what seems like forever. Marko went to the frontline and didn't like what he saw so he surrendered to his enemy. Alana was his jailor; she freed him. Miraculously they are the first inter-species couple we know of in this context who have successfully bred.
As traitors - blasphemers, even, with loving coupling and progeny - they have each been hunted by their respective species using agents like Prince Robot IV from a race of walking, talking, fornicating television sets and the assassin The Will with his Lying Cat. Even their brief bout of tranquillity in SAGA VOL 3 came at a cost and before that they were crammed together in a solitary lighthouse, confined to each other's company.
now they have finally settled down in relevant safety on the planet of Gardenia and have found time to spend outside each other's company. And that's important, isn't it? I think it's important. It's something I learned from Kahlil Gibran's 'The Prophet':
"Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup."
It's one of the most important books I have ever read, and I read it a lot.
Marko looks after Hazel during the day, taking her out to parks (albeit in bandages as some war-wound disguise); Alana has found a job under an assumed name and wearing a wig on the Open Circuit, an interactive TV performance troupe. It makes a substantial sum of revenue through product placement. As one of her fellow, pragmatic actors says
"This part of the gig isn't performing, it's promoting. I'd refuse but I've got a dad in assisted living and three sisters who don't feel like assisting with shit."
We do what we do to get through. On the subject of which, fortunately there is assistance on offer in the form of a recreational drug called Fadeaway and I have to tell you that Fiona Staples - improbably, I know - excels her already swoonaway standards in a sequence where colours swirl, roses melt and the world accordions out, leaving Alana blissfully floating all foetal-like as though in utero.
There are so many more Fiona Staples flourishes - one of which we get to in the very next paragraph - but I especially adored those involving the family of Prince Robot IV. For in a sub-plot his wife gives birth to a perfectly formed, portable, bi-pedal TV set, and there are two particular broadcasts (their TV-screen heads transmit what they think) which blew me away. One involves rain as you'd see cascading down your window. It is not what you think; it is not.
And you know how I wrote of SAGA VOL 3 that it included "the best-ever use of The Lying Cat", that turquoise, furless feline compelled to expose lies like a tabby with Tourette's syndrome?