ART: Fiona Staples
To be honest, I wasn't quite sure if Saga was meant to be a limited or ongoing series when I first started reading it. None of the pre-release gossip I read really revealed one way or another, but for some reason I almost assumed it was just a mini-series, a story that had a finite beginning and end. To the extent of being called a 'limited series', this is not. Saga is definitely ongoing and this latest issue really brings a whole lot more depth to the world Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are bringing us.
The Will is taking a break on the planet Sextillion! What could be greater than that? Fair warning: this issue includes a lot of graphic images of sex...weird, weird sex. While a place like Sextillion might sound fun in theory, Vaughan and Staples' depiction of the world of sex is as deplorable, as vulgar as you'd expect from Vaughan. He's never been one to shy away from controversy, and this inclusion of a raunchy planet dedicated to filthy forms of sexual gratification might even spark some media interest.
Of course, the real ethical bomb hits when a Sextillion manager recommends that the Will engage with one of their 'slave workers', a girl that will say and do anything one desires. Though this planet is rooted in debasement, there's definitely an aura of consent - everyone who's there wants to be there...of course. That changes when the Will is expected to take a six-year-old child into a room and use her for his own sexual fantasies. Chilling doesn't even begin to describe the feeling I had when I read this page. It's sick, it's disgusting, and the Will agrees. Without hesitation, the cold-hearted mercenary crushes the manager's head while exclaiming, "She's a goddamn child!" The narrator explains what's already quite evident - this type of third-person intervention being the only possibly bad thing I might have to say about this series - that the Will, for all his murderous tendencies, still has a line that he wont cross, or let anyone else cross. Vaughan does a fantastic job writing ethical dilemmas and the Will is a great vehicle for those moral tests.
Marko and Alana's side of things is a little less interesting this month. Marko wakes up from his coma and has to answer for his 'Gwendolyn' comment when he was on the verge of death. It's an important piece of character development that needed to happen in order to bring this couple closer together, but this particular instance was a little less than memorable. Of course, Gwen is probably going to play a part later on in the series, so in that respect, it's even more important to the plot.
I'm continually impressed with the quality of Saga. Vaughan has expressed that the series is heavily influences by Star Wars, and it shows; from the character-driven romance to the look into the seedy underbelly that exists all around the galaxy. Vaughan and Staples are creating one of the best comic book series I've ever read and it just gets better every month. If you're not reading Saga, you should. It's as simple as that.