The dynamic of conflict looming over our heroes on this arc is a slow burner, that’s for sure. It’s not grandiose or coated in fire, blood, and yelling. But it’s still haunting in a way that few things are, either in reality or fiction. The nuclear family has become such a frail model that it’s fractures are now sort of commonplace. A schism bears no longer much of an impact in itself, and instead we almost expect it to happen at some point. And that very acceptance makes it all even sadder. Going by Hazel’s own narration, we can do little but sit and wait for this inevitability – the separation of her family. Even then, we can’t quite lay despondent in wait, can we?
Another family has been broken bloody, and its most immediate consequences will shake the foundations of the Robot Kingdom. This event will irremediably add up to Hazel, Alana, and Marko’s agon. After all, galaxy-breaking events tend to flock together.
“A bloody baby!”
Troupes in the Open Circuit don’t run on plentiful fires of sheer passion alone. These, as well as god damned everything forever, requires money. So, product placement while dressed in an attire reminiscing of Marvel’s Black Cat may equate to “taking one for the team”. Alana is very much not looking forward to this, but the root of her displeasure is not the fact that she’s ‘selling out’. It’s merely the infamously low quality of the product she’s advertising. And she’s not alone in this one, as her partner for the ad is also not very enthusiastic. Fortunately that’s where Yuma comes in, facilitating Fadeaway to the actors. Alana is somewhat reluctant, but drugs apparently always become a necessity in the craft eventually. This would make her second dose since her first, three days ago.
Future Hazel reflects that her mum never did talk much about her acting career, but kids find out in the end anyway. This may be somewhat of a foreshadowing to an incipient habit in Alana. And just like last issue, we go from set of a vice for a parent to the other. Marko, under the guise of Barr, has taken Hazel to Ginny’s to play with her dance instructor’s daughter, Ecca. While the kids play, the grownups talk about their respective marriages. Well, Ginny does, but ‘Barr’ is not nearly as open or light in his discourse. His being married with a Landfallian may be a factor. Yet this also hints at the possibility that the relation between he and Alana is undergoing some strain. The continuous absence of Ginny’s husband because of work and the increasing communication between Marko and the dance teacher risks becoming a hazard.
‘Barr’ looks ready to establish some distance, in fear that something else may happen. However, Hazel enjoys her dance classes too much. Here we get a dichotomy between a child’s formative process and the necessary responsibility on behalf of their parents. The former must always take precedence. After all, what need has a child to know or reason the bullshit adults do? This rhetorical question extends to another place in the galaxy, where a grisly murderous rampage is falling upon both Robots and Landfallians. Dengo, the Furious Commoner is in the process of hijacking a ship, with the little Baby Robot cradled around his chest. In a lovely tonal contrast, Dengo doesn’t hesitate to speak tenderly to the Princeling, not even while he brings down carnage on all.
Once all obstacles are out of the way and in pieces, he sets the ship’s destination for Gardenia. Because why the fuck not?
Back on Gardenia, where shit will go down in a matter of time, it’s time to chill for a bit. Klara is reading one of Heist’s novel, which is her only way to honour his memory, much to her understandable distaste for the book. We get some banter featuring Izabel, which is always a plus. Alana walks in, very cheery about her 4% raise. She’s also really stoned, judging by the distinct super-happy-red in her eyes and her strange digressions. While rather humourous, both Klara and Izabel notice this, with a concerned look on their faces. A moment later, Marko reveals a surprise to his wife, having set up the scene for a night of relentless love-making. One could reason that this is a deliberate attempt to bridge the recent distant between the two and/or to cleanse himself from bad thoughts.
The scene is certainly passionate. But there is something off about it, and Hazel’s parallel narration confirms it. Each is undergoing a trial of their own. And although they are more than willing to get together, their act rings with a twang of desperation. It’s like a conscious drive to avoid something that could indeed end up happening. And it will.
Meanwhile, on Sextillion, Prince Robot IV dreams about the life he could have had with his wife and son. Although full of the ironic vulgarity of the Robot royalty, it’s really quite very sweet. And in this instance, there is no better preface to a cold, hard reality than happiness in a dream. Mama Sun and her people, against protocol, opt to disturb their client for a pressing matter. The grim news about the death of his wife. This information inevitably leads to the knowledge that his son was born, which he didn’t know until this moment. Twenty one days after the fact. Mind you, it was Mama Sun’s call to withhold this information from the Prince. The responsibility falls square on her, via a blast from PRIV’s arm cannon.
We can’t say she didn’t have it coming, if we recall her interactions with The Will and Sophie. Jules Verne was right, eh? Anything one can imagine, another can make a reality. He doesn’t kill anyone else, but he does give everybody a mean spook. Frightened, Mama Sun’s legal advisor offers to help him rescue his son, as a fellow father. Thus, with a resolve rebaptised in fire and blood, Prince Robot IV vows to make everything better. He will re-enter the fray, which will unfold soon on Gardenia, as it had back on Quietus. But before he can rampage in search of his son, he must have a word with somebody: The Robot King.
Doom approaches Alana, Marko, and Hazel. Although hiding after shaking off their pursuers has brought some quiet to the galaxy’s outrage, things are going to get loud again. A new scandal of galactic proportions has occurred and it’s heading their way, menacing to rekindle the pursuit. Let’s also not forget Dengo’s intentions. Will we have a rise of the working class on our hands? Will the monarchy rain hell on the commoners? How will our beloved family of fugitives fare in the inevitable bloodshed? Stay tuned, lovelies.
Saga Issue #21 Credits
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
All images are courtesy of Image Comics