Comic Book Review: Saga #54
When they say the explosive “season finale” to SAGA’s most shocking storyline yet to hype up this issue, you know they are not playing around. Story arc finale in the case of Saga always means that you need to brace yourself for the worst case scenario. I mean, out of the blue did we not already lose Prince Robot? I still don’t think I’ve gotten over how quick and sudden that end came, and that could only be the beginning with a long time personal confrontation that was inevitable.
If nothing, the death of Robot had set the tone for what’s to come. The fight between Marko and The Will somehow still managed to create a sense of panic since neither seemed willing to let this end without someone dead. When you’ve come as far as these two, you wouldn’t allow this to be the end. Certainly not for The Will when in this moment they also decided to show what has made him so resilient from past experiences. They packed in the character development for The Will and it paid off through an understanding of what has brought him to this point. His life in contrast to others doesn’t leave much to be hopeful for aside from seeing this mission of his through to the end. With that said, the fight was brutal, but at the same time it was quick and to the point. I was more shocked at Marko who kept you guessing as to if he was really at that point where he could take a life to keep his family safe.
Honestly I believe I screamed some profanities by the end of this issue. When I flipped open to that first page, I felt confident that this creative team wasn’t willing to be so bold, and so soon. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we are supposed to be only like halfway through the main story, right? That gave you the impression that there was so much more adventure for everyone. However, that was not the reality they hit us with by the end of this issue. There’s some Saga fan out there either throwing their issue across the room, hugging a pillow, or screaming into whatever device they are using to read this issue. I wouldn’t blame them. If I didn’t have to compose myself to write this, I would feel like a wreck because once again they proved to us that no one is safe. They will pull that plug and do so unapologetic.
Readers have been put through some craziness before when Saga has taken a break, but it doesn’t get any more painful than the idea that they will put the next chapter on hold till the next year. I won’t argue with an intermission, because honestly the best stories come from creative teams who know how to put the time into their books to get the best result, without running themselves into the dirt to keep the release dates consistent.
For a story arc finale, Fiona Staples did some of her best work when it came to messing with our emotions through perspective. She approached this conflict with a great sense of pacing, and made sure that every action between the two was decisive. She started with the shock, then went for the action, and then ended with the mindgames when that moment came to ask “Would the really?”. Her work was indeed jaw-dropping because everything came natural from these two. The anger, the inner-struggle, the final release. What hit harder than the loss, was the way she drew the scene that almost made you think that there was more to what we were actually seeing. That said, credit where it is due that the big moment didn’t come off as shock value. We have too many books out there who want to go big, and think that in doing so you need excessive gore. Staples proves that you just need the story to stay true to itself. Same quality in pencils, same quality in colors. She just had to keep doing what she did best, with the addition of the very things we feared could ever happen in this series.
Through the events of Saga #54, we come to understand what it truly means for this to be Hazel’s story. This is not the time to get attached to characters, and they drove that message home when there was nothing left to do but say goodbye.