(What, no podcast tonight? The past week turned out to be unexpectedly busy for me, so we’re running behind a bit right now. Expect it to go up on Friday or over the weekend at the latest.)
This volume of the series should’ve been a real heartbreaker to read. For several reasons, which I’ll concede are mostly external to the series, it doesn’t wind up having quite that effect. You can tell that creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are winding up for big things when reporters Doff and Upsher pitch the idea of publishing Marko, Alanna, and Hazel’s story with the promise of getting them new bodies and an end to their life on the run. The happy couple turns them down, but Prince Robot IV has some information of his own that proves just as appealing to the reporters. So he, Petrichor, and Squire may get their happy ending, assuming that the vengeful Ianthe who still has The Will under her thumb doesn’t track down the whole group and leave everyone dead in the process.
I think the main reason vol. 9 didn’t land with the expected impact for me is because after this many volumes I don’t think I’ll ever like “Saga” as much as everyone else on the internet does. There are lots of things I do like about it, but nothing that I truly love and it’s hard for me to pick out a volume and say “That’s my favorite!” I can say that the previous volume was the weakest in the series since it addressed a major social issue in a way that just didn’t work. Now that I think about it, “Saga’s” willingness to filter real-world politics through its sci-fi/fantasy aesthetic is probably what’s really kept me from getting completely onboard with it. I can’t lose myself in its world if it keeps bringing up plainly obvious reminders of my own at every step.
So while there are many deaths in this volume, I only felt a little sad about most of them. Including the one on the last page, which I had a feeling was coming based on the headlines I was reading about the issue when it came out. They weren’t the most interesting things about this volume, with Robot’s character arc and accompanying “visual flashes,” Marko and Alanna’s “squirting” good time, and The Will’s tragic/forced descent into villainy all proving to be quite memorable. Yet they all contribute to make this volume just a good one, much like the series overall in my opinion.