REVIEW: Saga #9

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Saga has received accolades for both its story and artwork, and rightfully so. This month’s issue puts the focus on the bounty hunter known as The Will, hired to hunt down our main characters. Does this shift work for the book? Major Spoilers has your review.

Saga_9_coverSAGA #9
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Letterer: Fonografiks
Editor: Eric Stephenson
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Saga: The Will is a bounty hunter hired to kill Marko and Alana and take their child, Izabel. On a leisurely stop on the planet Sextillion, he meets a young slave girl used for horrific purposes. Now he must figure out a way to rescue the girl from her horrible fate.

THIS IS WHY I NEVER TRUST REVIEWS

This issue is all about The Will and his meeting Gwendolyn, an employee of The Wreath High Command who are looking for Marko, and the two’s rescue of the slave girl from Sextillion. The Will has put his mission on hold due to the fact that he wishes to find his ex-lover, The Stalk’s, murderer. Gwendolyn is there to assure him that completing his job will lead him to his target and she agrees to help him free the slave girl. Turns out, Gwendolyn is Marko’s ex-wife, the one whose ring now resides on Alana’s finger…

The shift in focus was a nice change of pace and I’m glad to see more of The Will, as he is a mysterious character that I wanted to know more about. He’s a badass but he also has a lot of heart, shown through his concern for the sex slave girl as well as his former lover, The Stalk. His personal concerns have taken over his professional ones and a character that seemed one-dimensional at first now has depth. I should have given Vaughn more credit, as he has never let any character in his stories be one note or fall to the wayside. The introduction of Gwendolyn is the biggest reveal in this issue and Vaughn gives her a voice straight from the beginning. Upon first seeing The Will, she says, “So you’re the deadliest freelancer money can buy? This is why I never trust reviews.” This struck me as funny as it’s something I believe myself (strange for someone who writes reviews, I know). She’s blunt and to the point but it’s clear that her concern with finding Marko is a little more personal than she lets on. Vaughn has a knack for writing women, always making them strong but also vulnerable and it’s just as prevalent here with Gwendolyn. She tries to use her political clout to rescue the slave girl but, of course, things don’t go as planned and we see why The Will is the best at what he does. By the end, the slave girl can sense a connection between Gwendolyn’s necklace and the wedding rings and it looks like a confrontation will be coming soon. The writing here is as good as ever. Vaughn expands on his characters while introducing new ones and still manages to tell a gripping story. There are some great, original sci-fi elements such as The Will’s lie detecting cat and his extend-o-matic lance. The quality doesn’t slip at all and this continues to be a great science fiction opera.

ARE THOSE PENIS BATONS?

Just like the storytelling, the artwork doesn’t falter at all. Fiona Staples remains one of the best artists working in comics. The creature designs in this book are crazy, particularly in this issue. There are guards from Sextillion who have no heads, eyes and tongues on their torso carrying batons that resemble fleshy penises. It’s the kind of design that can only work in sci-fi and even for that it’s bizarre. And I love all of it. Dialogue scenes look gorgeous as facial expressions convey the character’s emotions perfectly. I particularly like the way she draws women, giving them realistic body proportions. Gwendolyn is skinny, and her breast size matches that of someone her stature and not the giant melons many females in comics have. Since there is no colorist listed in the credits, I can only assume she does it all herself and if this is the case makes it all the more impressive. That’s a ton of work to do each month, yet she produces product on time with impressive quality every issue. If only every comic could look this good.

BOTTOM LINE: MUST READ

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Vaughn and Staples together make magic. This book tells a wonderful, original sci-fi opera with artwork that is stunning and fans of great comics need not look anywhere else; Saga is where it’s at. I rarely give out 5 star reviews (in fact I think The End Times of Bram and Ben was my first) but I can’t think of anything wrong with this issue. Image Comics has been putting out some great, distinctive books lately and Saga is one of their best. But, since you should never trust reviews, go out and read it for yourself. Saga #9 gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★★

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