You know, I do love writing about a variety of things, across different media and genres. That’s cause I enjoy a lot of things, and Twin Peaks is one of my favourites things ever. Thus, I wrote three pieces of the second season and the film, and had a blast throughout. That said, I am absolutely overjoyed to return to this Saga universe. The characters, the plot, the rich palette of colours; I missed talking about it all so dearly. It feels good to be back. Now, you can’t quite see the stars where I live, but I still look at the sky above and wonder. What matter of killing, fucking, and profanity could be going on out there? I always somewhat expect an answer to come smacking me in the facehole.
And you know, these opening pages never disappoint in that department. The opening shock is there, but there may be an even greater surprise awaiting further in. Perhaps something you’d like to keep, even long after you’ve closed the comic book. Saga also never disappoints there.
“There are only three forms of high art: the symphony, the illustrated children’s book and the board game”
Meet Countess Robot X. She just fell a dragon, and would like it kindly removed, as you do. However, her Landfallian subordinates seem to be rather slow at the task. Therefore, she has time for a word with our favourite amphibian tabloid journos of all time. Hebdomadal’s Upsher and Doff are there to ask her about Alana since she served under the Countess’ command. The screen-faced officer reveals that she cared little for the abducted soldier. The reason for her dislike goes all the way back to a gruelling war scenario where she tasked Alana with discharging an ordinance. However, she hesitated because she didn’t want to harm civilians, who abounded in the area. In spite of her efficiency when she did drop the bomb, Alana’s hesitation put her in the Countess’ shit list.
Before anyone can drag Alana’s name through the slime and the mud, an unseen sniper shoots Upsher. Journalism can be a perilous profession indeed. And bullets don’t distinguish between renown publications and rubbish sites detailing who bleached their asshole. In the heat of fear, we learn that these two are a couple. Upsher had convinced Hoff to pursue this story, since it would launch their careers. Considering the variety of places they have visited, the stakes and the topic, he’s probably right. Nonetheless, the two witness in horror as the Countess calls an air strike on the sniper’s location. It goes to show that their enterprise is certainly not a trifling one.
It’s now time to visit our dear fugitives at their new stay under D. Oswald Heist’s abode. Alana is taking care of laundry day as Hazel’s older diegetic-self muses on her mum’s life as a soldier. Izabel breaks the quietude by spooking her through the wall. Apparently, this is the best way to deliver news, and she’s got a tasty bit of information; her husband Marko is laughing, for the first time since his father’s death. All who has ever grieved knows this is a big deal. Apparently, variants of those guess-and-draw party games can lighten the mood a fair bit. However, it’s not just any game, it’s a traditional Wreath game called Nun Tuj Nun, which means Now Means Now.
I can’t think of better words to leave an ambience of despondency. Despite life’s struggles, it does well to try and live in the moment for a bit. Even the brief joy of a moment can shield or nurture you to withstand storms on the shore. In just a few panels, we see how bright D. Oswald really is, through the quote I’ve chosen to represent this week’s piece. I apologise in advance: I sense the English major in me thrashing about. The symphony, the illustrated children’s book, and the board game are all practices pertaining to a Dionysian nature. Therefore, they are meant to evoke pleasure and joy.
In a very post-modern way, we can forget a bit about the gravitas and the Apollonian character of music, which fundamentally obeys a very well-framed structure. Through our beloved cyclops, we get the Dionysian flavour the state of affairs needed, a necessity to indulge in the face of the very serious circumstances that surround all diegetic temporalities in Saga: the present, the past, and the future, marred all with war and the necessity to survive.
Okay, I’m done with that; back to having fun and not regretting my career choice. Heist tells them his second wife taught him to play – the only thing he doesn’t regret from the union. Klara describes the game’s rules to Alana, which remind aplenty of Festivus, something I celebrate every year. Much like Festivus itself, this game seems to unite people of all walks and species into one joyous moment. In later pages, we even get to see the Feats of Strength, which triggers a very serious conversation. Now, for the first time, Alana and Marko have to think in terms of their future as a family. This means employment, which is never an easy subject. In the end, the two agree to look into some manner of employment.
And it’s all thanks to Nun Tuj Nun. Enjoying the present prepares you to undertake the future. Now, do we have a variant of sorts to this game? I hope we do. I don’t like waiting all the way to December 23 to leg-wrestle, bitch and moan, and do voodoo mind-shit. Rather it’s now time to go visit a few of the baddies, a term this comic has taught me to use loosely.
The Will has called the galactic version of AAA, and his ship is now tip-top. The Freelancer still sees The Stalk talking to him, urging him to drop the chase. Gwendolyn, on the other hand, is trying to talk him into continuing. Much to lovely spider lady’s grief, The Will will (heh) continue the pursuit. It appears that Gwendolyn has grown a bit warmer to him. Perhaps she’s even concerned about his dourness. Meanwhile, Sophie carelessly runs off into the woods to eat some berries. However, she ends up seeing something unexpected – a vision of her birth mother. She tells her she needs to be brave for the future. Could it be these are wacky mind-fucky berries?. At his ship, the Will gets a call from space AAA, inquiring on the local meat. It turns out it gives you hallucinations.
This sounds pretty bad, since it needs to involve purging through vomit or nastier ways. Apparently, this lovely green pasture of a planet isn’t as idyllic as it appeared. And to think that were so close to blaming the berries! That’s subversion for you. Anyway, it gets worse, as we see Sophie stalking the Freelancer in the shadows, with a knife. That crazed look in her eyes is pretty succinct. She stabs him in the neck, well under the effect of the hallucination. However, what we first saw as her mother now reveals itself as The Stalk.
This certainly puts a spanner in the works. There are plenty of reasons to root for Alana, Marko, Hazel, and company. Alas, even The Will has earned our sympathy. It’s not a way for him to go down. Betrayal always goes sour down our throats. However, it is not little Sophie who has betrayed him, but rather that wayward Stalkish vision. What will occur next? Will The Will escape his bleedy fate? Will Alana and Marko get a job? What will go down when Prince Robot IV inevitably runs into our fugitives? Above all, where can we get a Nun Tuj Nun?
Saga Issue #15 Credits
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
All images are courtesy of Image Comics