By Fiona Staples, Brian K Vaughn, Fonografiks
The best comic around is back, delivering yet another issue of heart-warming family drama and in-your-face humor…
The last time we saw our space-faring family, Marko and Alana had finally reunited with their daughter Hazel while also learning they were about to add another to their fragile crew.
“Fragile” being the operative word, as the crew has various problems that are likely to fester over the next couple of issues. Marko and Alana are concerned if their next baby will even survive the pregnancy, Petrichor is worried about being outed as trans and Prince Robot seems to have developed a “thing” for Alana. That’s interesting for two reasons: One, because Prince Robot used to want to kill her and her husband for what they might do to the galactic war between their races. Two, because there’s a close-up of his hard-on on 1/3 of a page.
I’ll be very interested how the former affects this issue’s release, considering how issue 12’s was temporarily blocked by Apple supposedly because of “two postage-stamp sized scenes of gay sex” (Vaughn’s press release response at the time). While this issue has another one of those, I feel like everyone in the media missed the fact that Staples had drawn something you typically only see in hard-core pornography:the erect phallus. You can air soft-core porn on cable networks because there’s no visible penetration, or see a naked man in an R-rated movie as long as he’s not erect. For some reason, that is only allowed in 18+ x-rated films even if the acts themselves are depicted everywhere else. I’d hate to see Vaughn court more controversy unnecessarily or unintentionally for Saga‘s colorful artwork. Or maybe the concerns with issue 12 really were about the gay sex instead of the fellatio and erection. In which case this issue goes under the radar and that is probably best as far as media coverage is concerned.
Aside from all of that, there’s also the tasty development of Sophie (the former sex slave saved by The Will and currently in the care of Gwendolyn) wanting to become a bounty hunter like her caretakers. She also seems to be harboring a grudge for Marko and Alana, showing a dark side to what by all appearances is a sweet character who found her own make-shift family like the A-cast.
None of that would work without Staples’ superb visuals, there’s nothing like them in comics. It goes with everything Vaughn writes in his script, no matter how charming or gross or any combination there of. Her figures have a natural relaxation about them, as if she’s effortlessly doing life drawings of men and women with wings and magic swords. Then there’s the cute, fluffy animals. The issue ends at what could be a cliff-hanger, but all you can focus on is the adorable space-meerkats. There’s an art to drawing cute animals that don’t make you also want to vomit and Staples has that down. There’s also a two page montage explaining the planet Phang and why its a hellhole, and its another of my favorite sequences in this issue. It’s very clear why Staples and Saga need these planned breaks, so both can run on schedule and maintain the quality we expect from them as this issue shines in many ways not forgetting the wrap-around cover by Staples herself. Hopefully we can get a poster of that in the future.
It’s very challenging to discuss a typical issue of Saga because its often so good, that it becomes difficult for the latest issue to impress on its own. Despite it not being TWF, this was still an excellent installment. It displays so many things genuinely that most comics only approach superficially. Of course, we all know this about Saga by now. Like I said, this issue was Excellent.