The Calm Before the Storm: “Saga” Issue #34 (Review)

Mar 2, 2016

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Saga coverSaga Issue #34
Image Comics

Story by: Brian K. Vaughan
Art and Cover by: Fiona Staples

“You’ll never understand the way the worlds really work until you surround yourself with people from all sorts of weird backgrounds. I mean, I know diversity is an overused word these days, but without it, what would we be?” –Hazel


We got a bit of a surprise this month. For the past several issues, Brian K. Vaughan has focused the story on a different group. Instead, this issue features many characters and propels the plot forward for the next arc. Our favorite star-crossed family—Marko, Alana, and Hazel—are so close to reuniting, but as this issue shows, it might be further off than we hoped.

HazelThe last time we saw Hazel, she exposed her wings to her teacher Noreen, causing her to faint. In this issue, Noreen tells Hazel that she wants to help her escape the detention center on Landfall. This is great! Except for that fact that Marko, Alana, and Prince—er—Sir Robot IV are on their way to Landfall. As Ghüs tells Sir Robot when he refuses to help Alana and Marko, “Right, you’re always tellin’ [Princeling] about that ‘Code of Chivalry.’ But what’s more chivalrier than rescuin’ a fair maiden?” I foresee the group arriving at Landfall just as Hazel and Klara have escaped.

There’s some action when it comes to The Will’s group (Sweet Boy, Upsher and Doff, and The Stalk, who The Will is imagining and speaking to). Vaughan’s storytelling during this scene is particularly riveting and calls for the frantic page-turning that fans have come to love. Later, Doff tells The Will that he knows where Sir Robot is—at his and the Princess’s secret honeymoon spot—and will bring him there. It’s possible this will cause some problems as Marko and Alana’s group attempt to venture to Landfall. Vaughan is pulling a bit of a bait-and-switch on the characters, and we’re fully aware of it. This leads readers to be truly captivated in the story and eager to find out what happens next. As usual, Vaughan’s storytelling is masterful.

Fiona Staples’s art is great in this issue as expected. Her lovely artwork is a consistent thread that weaves itself from issue to issue. The cover features Ghüs and Friendo—two of Saga’s most beloved characters. It’s truly a piece of art. Ghüs stands atop his walrus friend while fishing. The beautiful colors from the sky—purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows—surround them as they reflect into the water. The scene is peaceful and serene. It just might be Staples’s magnificent interpretation of the calm before the storm. (If Ghüs dies, we riot!)

Vaughan gives us a lot to think about and look forward to in the next arc. The pace has picked up again in this issue, as several plot points have been put into motion. It was a smart idea to highlight several different groups in this issue, as the narrowed focuses in past issues have been somewhat of a letdown. I’m hoping we’ll get to see what Lying Cat and Gwendolyn have been up to next.