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The Kids Aren’t Alright in Saga

It’s something of an unspoken awareness towards the diegetic mediums that every character and situation is potentially connected to the main arc. Mileage always varies with these things, but at least in Saga, they prove true, for better and for worse. Some characters may toil in relative obscurity, in a conflict of their own. But chances are, as personal as their agony was, it’ll still come back to bite someone in the ass—oftentimes a main character, with or without the intention to draw the backside blood. Therefore, nobody in this comic appearing on more than a couple of panels is truly a minor character.

Every action and decision, however minor, will cause an effect on the lives of those who never did harm. Because a narrative must be cruel sometimes. And there’s no higher cruelty than putting children through hell.

Issue #35
“You not even this girl’s blood”

The word ‘opulence’ rather falls short of the real sense of lavishness on the splash page as we begin this issue. Of course we’re not entirely familiar with the financial outlook in the Saga universe. But a royally-garbed Lying Cat (not our Lying Cat) and scantily clad amphibian women pouring golden cocaine from seashells isn’t exactly moderation. Meet Zlote, Doff’s contact and sole chance to track down the former Prince Robot IV, and save his and Upsher’s life in the process. If the setting itself wasn’t shady enough, the Scarface-ish getup and the mustache should suggest the solution may be as perilous as the problem.

 

Unfortunately for the Hebdomadal duo, the bargaining options are pretty narrow. Zlote is in no need of money. Advantageous information is what he needs, which will undoubtedly benefit his peachy-keen-totally-not-sarcastic-legal business ventures. Doff gives him the dirt on a councilman, which calls back to Jetsam’s homophobic culture. Zlote’s Lying Cat confirms the legitimacy of the info, validating the ‘transaction’. Although bitterly paid for, Doff has come through with his gambit. Sir Robot’s latest destination is a small world on the underside of the Serpentine Belt. This is likely where Alana and Marko also found him.

 

In spite of ‘The Stalk’s’ constant urging to kill them, The Will chooses to keep them alive for the time being. It’s probably something of a relief that The Will is still at the wheel when it comes to decision-making. A really small consolation, though.

Meanwhile, we join Alana and Marko aboard the family’s rocketship, with the ‘amiable’ company of Sir Robot. Naturally, his vocabulary is both demeaning and belligerent. Hazel’s parents don’t take him seriously, though. And neither should we, since Sir Robot is now the teeth-gritting ally, just like Vegeta, except a little taller.

However, there is something to consider in the tube head’s words. Breaking into Landfall won’t be an easy task, and Alana and Marko do seem a little overconfident. Still, they’re not simply marching in like they would to rob a bank. They do actually have a plan, and it’s simple enough that it just might work, or it might fall apart.

Basically, they’re dropping off Sir Robot in Landfall under the guise of one Count Robot LX. He will then deactivate the planet’s magic defences, allowing Marko to teleport in using a magical crash helm. Given the helm’s poor conditions, Marko will have to do this solo. Swoop in, take Hazel and Klara, and scoot. As a side note, it’s amusing to see the dynamic Alana and Marko have taken as a couple. They’ve become super devious and roguish, as if they weren’t already. Yet they seem to have grown comfortable in opting for such pragmatical means as stealing and masquerading. Perhaps this kind of righteous crime-committing has helped their marriage. Who knows.

In the meantime, we pick back up from last issue for Noreen’s own plan to help Hazel escape. Her scheme is also pretty simple: smuggle Hazel out in a box. The teacher counts on her friendship with the night sentry, who never gives her any guff about the smocks Noreen brings home to wash every month. It all seems to go smoothly until three figures walk in on them. Klara, Lexis, and Petrichor. The ambiance grows tense as they find out Noreen knows Hazel’s secret. Although Noreen is ready to take responsibility, Hazel comes out with the truth: she told her teacher herself.  So, all that’s left is to discuss whether or not to let Noreen go ahead with her plan.

At first Klara refuses, being the fierce grandma we know and love. But Lexis and Petrichor talk her into realising it’s indeed best for Hazel to escape this place. Reluctance gives way to wariness in the face of consequences for Noreen if she were caught, let alone for Hazel. Nonetheless, she is convinced this must be done. The quietness on the bottom panel of the page may just be an impromptu farewell between kid and her grandma. This would be a very important parting, as Hazel would be letting go of her final link to her biological family. Cue a plunge in the probabilities of her ever seeing her family again. We know from her retrospective narration that she’ll indeed see her family again. But that doesn’t take anything away from this moment.

And let’s not forget either what this would mean for Klara herself. Or for Alana and Marko’s plan, which is about to unfold soon… right now, actually.

 

Sir Robot is doing his best to play the part of the lowly Count. But really, he may as well have presented himself in the guise of a food delivery person and it would still have sufficed. The guard really can’t be bothered to focus on the job. It’s ‘fucking disgraceful’, even if that did make the job way easier. Marko prepares to pull the jump, but suddenly, their ship suffers from a collision. Nor with a projectile from an enemy that has found their presence in the planet’s orbit disagreeable, but with a hive mine. As Marko mentions, these things are long outlawed, for a good reason; they introduce giant flesh-eating larvae into whatever the mine crashes with. They cannot let this hinder the plan, though.

Marko shares a kiss with his wife before leaping. That’s sweet, but her words prior may be even better. The popular trope and convention says the relation with the in-laws is kind of rocky. And it’s sometimes true. But if there’s ever a reason to love your in-law, it’s this (and I quote): She made you. Boom, there’s no better way to send off a hero into the mission of a lifetime. Once Marko jumps through, even Former-Prince/Count/Dick/Sir Robot wishes success for Alana’s family. That’s quite uncharacteristic, but oddly sweet.

 

Unfortunately, in another spot of the galaxy, things have taken an ominous tone. The Will, with Sweet Boy (and his hallucination of The Stalk) in tow, has intruded on Squire Robot’s hunt for that day’s supper. The young one is quick to pick up on the menace looming in front of him. Balefully encouraged by his hallucination, The Will looks ready to harm the boy in his quest to exact vengeance on The Stalk’s killer. We brace ourselves for an apparently imminent tragedy. But not so fast… Ghûs makes his entrance, riding atop Friendo, and brandishing his trusty ax. Like a proper knight, this one.

But this is no joust. Will he succeed in saving the young Squire? Stay tuned, lovelies. Hazel may be on her way to safety, with her true identity as the ultimate half-breed taboo concealed still. But now another is in peril through a Freelancer’s vendetta. As additional commentary on the axiom that no action is irrelevant in this story, it must be said: nothing ensures others won’t pay the price for their father’s crimes.


Saga Issue #35 Credits

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Artist: Fiona Staples

Images Courtesy of Image Comics

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Devotee of coffee, whiskey and baleful sentiment. I also write a lot of things.

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