Saga Vol 7 by Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples
The last volume of Saga was not my favorite. It signaled to me a wind down in the series. The place where Vaughan gets in his long-term stories where the narrative just kind of bends in the middle without a place to go. (This notably happens in the middle of Y: The Last Man.)
Will Vaughan get Saga together? Does volume 7 accomplish this? Yes and no.
One of Saga‘s strongest elements is Staples’ art. Staples’ art will keep me reading this book when the story doesn’t do it for me. Her art continues to be beautiful. Staples knows how to draw space and movements. She understands bodies like few artists do. You can read this book without with the words. Staples is a true visual storyteller.
In a story about children, it makes sense to skip time. No one wants to see tiny children growing up. They are more interesting when they can talk and add characterization and texture to the story.
Hazel has become more than just the older voice. She’s become the real center of the story, not just the object the story revolves around. Hazel has her own adventures with Kurti, which includes some rites of passage around pornography (thanks, Prince Robot IV), running off only to discover dangerous weapons, and of course, first kisses. Not to mention all the deaths and losses.
Sophie is likewise coming into her own. She makes the decision to stay with Gwendolyn, and she makes the decision for Lying Cat to stay with her easy. Of course, The Will is no one’s idea of a good person to hang out with.
One wonders how Gwendolyn gets away with so many lies to Velour when Lying Cat is around. I’m so happy Vaughan finally added more queer characters.
Petrichor remains one of the most interesting new characters. She represents a different type of symbol against the war when compared to Alana and Marko. Petrichor also left the war behind, and seemingly allowed herself to be captured and put in a women’s pow camp. (At least I assume she is not the type of badass who’d be captured without allowing it.)
So let’s talk what I don’t like about this volume: the clear emotional manipulation of the reader. This volume was all about emotional manipulation and killing off the most innocent of all the people. (Except for The March, I’m pretty happy The March is dead, but that too was emotional manipulation.)
If the last volume left me with no feelings, than this one left with too many. Alana falls and the baby boy she’s carrying dies. (I would say she had a miscarriage, but that’s not active yet and a woman can deliver a stillborn.) Throughout the entire volume, we hear Hazel pontificating about her coming baby brother, but we know Hazel, the narrator, to be from the future. She never mentioned he didn’t survive.
Kurti and all his people are victims of war. They are the ultimate symbol of innocents. They live simple lives. They don’t kill. They are small. They are treated by the narrative as childlike. Alana nurtures them. Of course, they all die.
Then we have The March. We want the March to die since he killed Izabel. But Hazel’s narrative tells about how killing anyone — no matter how evil they may be — will break Marko. And perhaps the death of the baby will feel like a punishment for this action for Marko.
And we have the death of Sweet Boy.
In this world, both Prince Robot IV and The Will would be long dead. They’ve taken too many risks. I highly doubt The Will has died, even if we see him get shot in the stomach at the end of this volume. These are characters whose deaths would make sense.
But Vaughan doesn’t kill of important characters he hasn’t emotionally redeemed. More characters need to be killed in this book. Vaughan only kills off characters we “like” with few exceptions. This is the emotional manipulation.