Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pull List Review: Saga #5

The shine was bound to wear off a bit eventually. I'm still enjoying Saga immensely, but this issue left me feeling less enthusiastic than the previous four. I think it boils down to this: the story, while interesting, is moving at a snail's pace, because it has so many threads already and such a massive world to build. Meanwhile, Fiona Staples' art, while no less impressive here, didn't have as much new stuff to do this time as it has in the past. Saga #5 was more about advancing the stories of the bulk of the cast than building the reality of this book out any further, and so we weren't introduced to the usual visual surprises. Staples still did amazing work top to bottom, but without the unbridled joy of seeing her invent something brand new, I was less delighted by this issue.

Less delighted is still delighted, though. The scene where Marko gives into his violent urges was probably the strongest, both in terms of story and art. I appreciated the rhythm Staples gave to the coloring, with one blue panel on both the first and last pages of the fight, while the rest was done in harsh, rage-filled red. And I like Marko and Alana's strange relationship to violence in general. They're both used to it and, apparently, it comes naturally to them, but they are working together to put a stop to that, even if it means momentarily hurting one another to prevent further bloodshed. It's a delicate situation at best, a powder keg at worst, and it makes for a bizarre but understandably powerful bond between them.

I was less into The Will's scene, if only because it didn't advance far enough. I'm guessing we're building toward the little girl he's saving sticking around and becoming some kind of twisted friend/ally to The Will, but right now he's still stuck on a horrible planet trying to save her and failing. A planet that I'm not sure I get why he went there in the first place, based on his reactions to it so far. Nor am I clear on why rescuing the girl matters so much to him. Yes, I see the difference between killing a child and keeping one as a sex slave, but it still doesn't quite mesh with my picture of this freelance murderer that he would be so desperately broken up over one strange young victim.

Also, The Stalk's death at the end (if she's really dead, I guess) is hard to care about. She may be the best-looking creature in this book so far, but she's a cold bitch and an obvious villain and we've only seen her a handful of times. So not as hard-hitting an ending, especially with it tying into The Will's whole mess, as it seemed like it wanted to be.

Nevertheless, Saga #5 is a beautiful comicbook with a lot of solid characterization and dialogue when it comes to the two main characters. Not a misstep so much as a slight stumble.

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