Veering back into its A-Game, Vol. 5 of this graphic series shows the clash between the atrocities and fallout of war and the sacrifice that accompanies love. Consistently and brilliantly, Fiona Staples continues to graphically represent the humor, emotions, and actions of a very diverse cast of characters. [Notably absent from this volume are any queer characters or sub-themes which I had previously appreciated.]
This Romeo-&-Juliet saga centers on Alana from the planet of Landfall, Marko from Landfall’s moon Wreath, and their lovechild, Hazel, who manages to tell the widely diversifying tale from some point in the distant future.
Landfall and Wreath began clashing over strategic interests far away from their own solar system. To augment dwindling armies, the two sides each enlisted (or outright press-ganged) foreign fighters to join their ranks. Before long, almost everyone in the universe had skin in the game. But as the conflict moved further into the cosmos, an unfamiliar quiet fell over the two worlds that had given birth to this bloodshed. Civilians finally had the luxury to concern themselves with matters beyond life or death. Everyone still supported the troops, of course, but in a more . . . abstract way than past times.
With nearly every species in the galaxy affected by war, complicated and shifting alliances and animosities set the tone. None moreso than the socially abhorrent union of Alana and Marko who’re wanted by both sides. They are still separated from the previous volume. Alana, along with Hazel, and Marko’s mother are held by the android Dengo who also holds the royal baby Robot Princeling after killing the princess. Marko finds himself in a strange alliance with the Princeling’s father, Robot Prince IV, and a couple of lovable oddities in Ghus and Yuma. A third band includes Marko’s ex, Gwendolyn, who previously teamed up with the bounty hunter, The Will, and his Lying Cat, and his adopted daughter-figure that he broke out of child prostitution, Sophie. The Will remains indisposed, so Gwen, Sophie and Lying Cat team with The Will’s bounty hunter sister, The Brand, and her companion dog to find a cure.
A new group emerges, The Last Revolution, comprised of individuals from many systems. They stand against both Wreath and Landfall in the war due to the destruction of their worlds. The upper hand shifts rapidly between the forces of Landfall, Wreath, Last Revolution, and Robots.
But ultimately, the story boils down to family and how one defines it. Many actions are done for the children whether it be Hazel, the Princeling or Sophie. And lives are lost . . .
Ask a child’s guardians what it takes to be good at their jobs, and most will answer with a single word . . .SACRIFICE. Parents give up so much: time, sleep, freedom, money, intimacy . . .pretty much everything but complaining about how much they sacrifice. . . .Granny used to describe giving your life as the “ultimate sacrifice,” but I don’t know about that. Dying is definitely the LAST sacrifice you can make . . . but sometimes it’s your first one that sets the tone for everything that follows.
This entire series is highly recommended. The previous volume of Saga won Goodreads’ Graphic Publication of the Year. Check out my reviews for other installments of Saga:
Saga, Volume 1
Saga, Volume 2
Saga, Volume 3
Saga, Volume 4
[Check out my other reviews here.]