Only “Saga” #5 could open up with a splash page of one of the major characters of the series sitting on the crapper. Fiona Staples’ first image to open the fifth issue of this series is Prince Robot IV getting caught up on some light reading as he disemfibers prior to receiving a call from his lover.
The Prince gets a surprise that doesn’t quite measure up to what Brian K. Vaughan has in store for readers in the rest of the issue, but in that one scene, the writer humanizes one of the most visually inhuman characters of this series. Vaughan writes surprising humanity in all of the characters in “Saga” #5, including the spidery woman Stalk, the hardened bounty hunter The Will, and, of course, protagonists Marko and Alana. The events these characters endure in this comic define them and further add to the fabric of each individual.
Staples’ drawing is a little rougher around the edges in this chapter of Hazel’s life than it has been to this point, but the scratchy rawness adds to the sweeping sense of adventure. Adjusting for some scratchiness on the foregrounds and characters, Staples uses color in such a manner that the figures pop out of the very world in which they are grounded. Anything secondary character or object isn’t inked with black outlines, but rather softly tinted with hues indigenous to its design. In some scenes, the end result is breathtaking while elsewhere it is chilling and emotionless.
I’m getting close to running out of superlatives for “Saga.” I’ve actually gotten to the point where I stop trying to explain it to my friends and I just hand it to them. Thankfully, as “Saga” #5 clearly displays, Vaughan and Staples are nowhere near out of ideas and aren’t afraid to take chances with characters. As in every issue prior, there are jaw-dropping, gasp-worthy moments involving characters we didn’t even know about in 2011. Five months after their debut, the characters of “Saga” have proven to be fan-favorites. Don’t wait to pick up this series in trade paperback. It’s well worth the time and money.