Saga does everything right. Brian K. Vaughan is at the top of his form with creative storytelling, engaging plots and complications, and compelling characterizations. Fiona Staples’ artwork is sublime; her detail is minimal but expressive, and each character exudes real emotions, whether they be humanoid, seal, or have a television for a head. The science-fiction setting, while important to the surface details of the characters and story, are essentially window-dressing. The story of Alana and Marko could be told in any setting. The fact that Vaughan and Staples regularly summon the most innovative-yet-familiar universes I’ve ever seen is just a bonus.
Issue 14 continues to fill in the gap that was caused by issue 12’s temporal jump forward. The story stays split between Marko, Alana, and company arriving on Quietus in search of assistance from the author, Heist, while The Will, Gwendolyn, and Sophie (formerly Slave Girl) gather information in an attempt to pursue. This particular issue is low on action but rich with backstory and characterizations. Alana’s home life, prior to her military service, is shown, and Klara (Marko’s mother) and Heist bond over stories of love, war, and loss. In my opinion, though, the book is owned by a single page: Sophie is trying to get used to NOT being “Slave Girl.” If you’ve read the book, you probably know the page: Sophie is talking about herself while curled up with Lying Cat.
Sophie’s moment of doubt and Lying Cat’s perfect reaction is what makes Saga so special. It doesn’t matter that the chase story doesn’t move forward much. These are fascinating characters who are three-dimensional, realistic, and flawed. As the series unfolds, the bright lines between “good guys” and “bad guys” breaks down. I’m suddenly rooting for all sides but I don’t know how it is all going to resolve, if at all. At this point, I’m willing to watch these characters do just about anything. Except die.