By Christine Marie Vinciquarra
[*Spoilers for Volume 3 of Saga below!]
A skeleton monster, an author throwing up on a baby, and a handful of hallucinations, what more could a reader ask for? Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have done it again. Volume 3 collects issues thirteen through eighteen, and is filled with a combination of thrilling action and tricky confrontations. What’s really great about this volume is the evolution we experience with these characters over the course of six chapters. Up to this point the story has been about each group of characters reaching a certain destination. Now we get to see what happens when they get to that point, and how it all plays out. If I had to choose one word to sum up the theme of this volume it would have to be “change”. Most of the characters are reaching a point in their lives where their original goal is turning into something else. They are reaching a metaphorical crossroad, and must decide which path is the right one to continue following.
A new team of pursuers kicks off the action in Volume 3. Upsher and Doff, two reporters who are also lovers, from the planet Jetsam. They are determined to investigate every being that knows anything about Alana, no matter how much danger they are putting themselves in. With the addition of this quirky duo, we are able to learn a few new things about Alana’s character and what she’s done in the past. As I mentioned earlier, the characters in this volume are all reaching a metaphorical crossroads, and Upsher and Doff are no exception. After being threatened by a freelancer by the name of the Brand, they must decide if their mission is worth risking their lives. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about another team of pursuers being thrown into the mix. However, I realize their purpose may be to heighten the suspense of the story. It’s unknown what they may discover about Alana, and since she is a character that we are rooting for their presence causes doubt in the feelings we’ve developed.
My favorite parts of Saga always involve the family. Up to this point we’ve been waiting to discover how they made it to Quietus. Well, the pivotal moment Alana and Marko have been waiting for finally arrives. They come face to face with their favorite author, D. Oswald Heist and are very proud to introduce him to Hazel. While this first strikes you as a heartwarming scene, it quickly becomes a gross one as Heist throws up all over Hazel. Even though it isn’t the ideal way to start a visit, it doesn’t affect the rest of their time spent there. As I read through the scenes at Heist’s lighthouse, I realized how interesting it is that they all just blended together like one big happy family.
Their visit is actually quite normal. The beginning consists of laundry, a board game from Wreath, and a lot of indulging in Heist’s library. Of course with any family there is a certain level of dysfunction, but most of that is caused by the dreaded, “What happens next?” question. Alana and Marko need to figure out what their next step is, and how they are going to support their family moving forward. The amount of growth they’ve had as a couple up to this point is remarkable considering the circumstances they’ve been through.
On an island not too far away another “family” of sorts find themselves in a troubling situation. The Will’s plan comes to a screeching halt when he finds himself stranded on an island with a broken ship. While he waits for the ship to be repaired with Gwendolyn, Lying Cat, and Slave Girl, something peculiar begins to happen. The Will begins to see The Stalk. She is advising him to stay on the island because if he continues his journey to find Alana, Marko, and Hazel, he might die. This leads to a lot of conflict in The Will’s mind, as he decides whether or not it’s best to continue on or start a life on the island. Gwendolyn, being the headstrong character that she is, urges The Will to continue to Quietus.
Unfortunately, the only good thing The Will does for the first half of the volume is give Slave Girl a name, Sophie. What happens next can only be described as jaw dropping madness that I definitely didn’t see coming. I do want to mention how much I enjoy Gwendolyn’s character. She’s tough, smart, and resourceful, but shows a softer side from time to time. That’s a refreshing thing to see when comparing her to The Will. You know that he has all of these feelings inside of him, but he really has no idea how to deal with them. Gwendolyn knows how she feels and most of the time is very blunt about it.
Countess Robot X of the Robot Kingdom is featured in this volume, and we learn that she is also on her way to Quietus. I found myself comparing her character to Prince IV, and definitely enjoyed her scenes more. Even though I play for “Team Alana, Marko, and Hazel,” I can get on board with a good villain. Countess Robot X seems to combine logic with her evil ways. Unlike Prince IV, she has a good (TV shaped) head on her shoulders. Prince IV just strikes me as an over privileged loon, but he gets what he deserves when we return to his confrontation with Heist.
An epic battle, an awkward confrontation, and a twist are all things you can expect as you continue through the volume. Without giving anything away, I just want to say I was really excited about the ending of this volume. Saga has definitely proved to be one of the greatest series of graphic novels I have ever read. It is an amazing combination of science fiction and fantasy that constantly keeps you guessing. It’s always great to read a story that is so well thought out. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a cat that has the ability to know when someone is lying, or maybe it’s just the escape to these fantastical worlds. None the less, I am thrilled to be caught up to the point where I can start picking up the individual comics. I will definitely continue reading this series, and I highly recommend you do the same.
Saga Volume 3, from Image Comics, is written by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Fiona Staples.
Christine Marie Vinciquarra is a freelance writer and aspiring author of young adult literature. She has a deep passion for all things creative, and enjoys blogging & vlogging about the process of writing, creativity, and imagination. She is currently working on a young adult paranormal romance novel. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AWritersWay or on her blog writerchristinemarie.wordpress.com.