This won't win me any points in the critic-o-sphere, but Saga is one of those books that I feel like I should be enjoying more than I am. Everybody loves it, and I have liked it overall. I'm a fan of prior Brian K. Vaugan works like Y The Last Man and Ex Machina. It's just a rule that I should love this, too. It's a science fiction space opera that doesn't involve Earth and has robots with TV heads in it. Of course, when I used the latter as a hook for a prior review, I was taken to task for not being mature enough about Saga.
The fact that Saga #7 has a splash page of a morbidly obese three-eyed giant with a huge crusty ballsack the size of a U-Haul should put that condescending attitude to bed. I think both Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples would want us to have fun with this series as much as we have deep thoughts about it – and I had plenty of Mature Observations in a later review, lest you think I'm incapable.
A lot of what I said there still holds true – I don't think I've found the thing that makes me excited to read each new issue – although Vaughan's statement during New York Comic-Con that this issue contains the worst thing he's ever asked anyone to draw surely got me curious, and there's no doubt that the aforementioned ballsack is it. Staples does not shy away from drawing anything, that's for sure. She's gone for broke with this guy – and we're only gonna get more of it next time around. That should be fun.
Maybe I've just been trying to figure out how to connect with this story, and I'm finally realizing it's going to be a long-running, sprawling sort of tale with maybe a finite endpoint but a lot of leeway in how it will eventually get there. I like these characters but haven't fallen in sappy love with any of them yet, and I still can't explain why that is. By now, though, I'm thinking falling in like with them is enough to keep me going, because the themes and ideas here are compelling ones.
Saga #7 gives us a nice bit of recap about Marko and Alana, the new parents from warring species who are trying to break out of the cycle of hate and war that has engulfed both of their respective societies for as long as any of them can remember, to inform the first ever meeting between Alana and Marko's hard-edged parents, Barr and Klara. Last time out, Klara banished Izabel to some planetoid nearby because she judged her son's disembodied teenage ghost babysitter by appearance alone. Thus, Marko has to go find her, and Klara follows because she apparently thinks her son is something of a fool. She refers to Alana as "the kind of misguided rebelliousness you should have outgrown twenty years ago."
In-laws, huh? Ain't they a pain? What's more concerning is that Alana is left alone with her father-in-law Barr, who seems to have an ambiguously keen interest in his new granddaughter Hazel (who also serves as narrator of the story, although we can't assume that means she survives, since we've established with Izabel that ghosts are real and quite talkative when they want to be). Marko's people are a magical one, so Alana is unprepared for Barr's mystic surprises, leaving us on a cliffhanger as to Hazel's safety.
Part of my distance from Saga might just come from the fact that I have to read scores of comics every week, which means I have to consume a lot of them very quickly – sometimes too quickly. This is one of those books that benefits from taking the time to ruminate on the story elements, the character interactions and how they affect each other. Once you do that, the layers become visible and more welcoming, and then it begins to settle into the cockles of your heart and warm things up.
You shouldn't have that issue. Therefore, if you pick up Saga, you'll probably love it like everybody else does. I'm sure I'll get there eventually. I mean, it's about a goat-guy and a fairy-lady and a ghost babysitter flying a rocket-tree through space and evading TV-headed royal robots and spidery-lady mercenaries who make sex tapes with their merc lovers. And giants with crusty ballsacks. What's not to like, really?