Monday, 27 July 2015
Saga Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan
It's sometimes hard to write a book review for each graphic novel in a series. Then again, sometimes it's also hard to write a review for later entries in a series of novels - you end up feeling like you aren't saying anything new, because the books aren't offering anything that new. This is not necessarily a bad thing - they might be great - but I run out of things to say.
So here we are with Saga, Vol. 4. I was loaned this by my friend Melissa, who loves this series with a deep passion, and told me that this one would break my heart. And I feel bad admitting it...but it didn't. I didn't dislike it, but the emotional impact was far less than the third entry in this series, for instance.
In part, it's because this graphic novel feels like it's spinning its wheels instead of advancing the plot. The characters are feeling that too, and perhaps it's the point. In a grand saga, you're not supposed to just have to...hide out on a planet for years and work crap jobs and have to hide your face all the time. You're not supposed to feel your grand romance slowly crumbling while you can't think what to do to save it.
It's an interesting move, for sure. As long as it is only for this one novel. We appear to get moving at the end, and that's good, because now we've done the pause, it's time for action. (Pay attention closely here, George R.R. Martin.)
I also didn't find it heartbreaking because, although there was an upsetting scene, the set up for what will happen next came quite quickly on its heels, and I'm not particularly worried. It felt more like a speedbump than an endpoint. (This may be me reading quickly - I was already on to the next bit and some of the promised resolution before it had time to sink in.)
Having the new threat be an entirely new character, who doesn't really particularly care about our leads...I'm not sure about that. We already have a plethora of people who are after them - the diversion into this new random dude acting out against the TV-headed guys was...I don't know. Is this an extended cast sort of book? It didn't appear so at first, but it's becoming more so as we go. As long as there's a point down the road, I'm fine. If this is long-term crafting of a story, cool. If it's just throwing more weird shit at the screen to see what sticks, then less so.
I guess I'll have to wait to find out.
Oh, and Alana's main subplot seemed a bit...pat. Another case where I was thinking, okay, fine, but did we have to? Is it the most interesting thing to happen here? Mom pops pills, Dad gets attracted to the alien down the lane?
So yeah, there are a bunch of things about this book that make me wonder if the choices were really the best ones. If it pays off, Brian K. Vaughan is forgiven. If not, then I'm a teensy bit dissatisfied. You've got a couple more volumes to win me back. Wow me.
(The best goddamn bit of the book was the two pages with Lying Cat. So good.)