WARNING: The following list contains several spoilers for “Saga.” Read at your own discretion.
“Saga,” created by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, has been one of the most consistently well-received comics series since it was first released in 2012. Some even credit it as being a major turning point in helping to usher in a new wave of comic book readers across the globe.
The story follows Alana, Marko and their daughter Hazel as they flee their respective races who are locked in a never-ending war with each other. But “Saga” is much more than a story of forbidden love story, as it regularly touches on the concepts of family, struggle and loss. Throughout its run, “Saga” has dealt out far more than its share of emotionally charged moments that have either hit us deep in our hearts, excited ur, or both. Here are 15 of the most impactful scenes that probably left you sitting in a pool of your own tears – either of sadness or joy.
15. THE WILL MEETS SOPHIE
The Will is a mercenary charged with hunting down Alana, Marko and Hazel. He’s been around since the very first issue of the series and has been involved with a lot of its best characters. Even though he’s a bounty hunter, he’s not completely heartless. As a matter of fact, he’s shown a glimmer of humanity on a number of occasions. The most respectable of which came when he made a pit stop on a planet called Sextillion, which is basically the Las Vegas of space, only three times as gritty.
After being guided to the darkest of Sextillion’s shady corners, he was introduced to a “slave girl.” The Will was shocked and appalled to find a young girl no older than seven waiting for him. The child before him had been sold into the sex trade by her uncle and had been forced to endure an unspoken level of cruelty. Naturally, The Will did what anyone with a heart and a retractable lance would do: he saved her and taught a painful lesson to the scumbags who were holding her captive.
14. LYING CAT COMFORTS SOPHIE
Given the life she was forced to endure at such a young age, Sophie understandably came out with some insecurities and issues with her identity. For quite a while, she still had the bad habits of looking to please everyone around her and constantly referred to herself as a slave girl. The Will and Gwendolyn did their best by giving her a new name and constantly reminding her that she was free, valued and worthy of being loved, but the most comforting words came from Lying Cat, a creature who has a natural talent for pointing out when people aren’t telling the truth.
Perhaps one of the most heartwarming scenes of the entire series came as Sophie sat next to Lying Cat, going over her newfound identity. After slipping into a moment of self-loathing, she called herself “dirty on the inside” for doing “bad things” in reference to her past. To most people, it’s clear that nothing that happened to Sophie was her own fault, which made it hurt to know she felt that way. Luckily, Lying Cat was lying next to her and said the only word she knows how to speak, washing away all of Sophie’s doubts in an instant.
13. ALANA GETS ADDICTED TO FADEAWAY/THE BREAKUP
When their relationship works, Alana and Marko are one of the best couples you’ll find in any medium. They fell in love despite coming from opposite sides of two warring planets and always seem to find their way back to each other no matter how far they stray. However, their ugly moments tend to get really ugly.
For example, when Alana was working as an actor and hated herself for it, she was introduced to a drug called Fadeaway. Not only did it make her better at her job, but it also made her enjoy doing it. The problems came when she got addicted to the drug and was even high in front of her family. This all came to a huge confrontation around the same time that Marko was warming up to Hazel’s dance teacher and it looked like he was actually going to make a huge mistake. Fortunately, he didn’t, but that didn’t help much when he got into a fight with Alana and threw a bag of groceries at her, reminding her of the abusive household she was raised in.
12. MARKO OVERDOSES ON FADEAWAY
Fadeaway played an active role in breaking up a family that readers had come to love and feel like they were a part of. Alana was able to break her drug habit, but that just made it hurt even more when Marko went into a tailspin and overdosed on a bad batch of it himself (in an attempt to better understand his estranged wife by trying the same drug she had). It wasn’t easy to watch him be driven so close to the edge of his mental and emotional breaking point that he would lean on the very same drug that tore his family apart.
The trip that Marko then had into his deepest memories was both revealing and pushed the knife even deeper into readers’ guts. At a young age, he lashed out and hit a girl who was picking on defenseless animals, which went against everything he was taught. After his father found out, he whipped him with tears in both of their eyes.
11. THE TALE OF D. OSWALT HEIST
Without D. Oswald Heist, there would be no “Saga.” Well, not exactly. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples surely would’ve figured something out. For the sake of continuity, however, Alana and Marko never would’ve fallen in love if it weren’t for Heist’s novel.
When readers first meet the veteran author, he’s having a seemingly pleasant conversation with Prince Robot IV about their differing ideologies on war and the effects of it. But as the conversation goes on, it delves deeper into the two men’s past experiences, even leading to the revelation that Heist’s son was a war veteran who returned home and hung himself in the bathroom.
Despite Heist being a pacifist, he ends up fighting with Robot IV to protect Marko’s mother, Klara. Later on, he prepares to fight for his house guests again, but Gwendolyn busts through the door and stabs him through the head with The Will’s lance.
10. YUMA’S SACRIFICE
It’s hard to say whether Yuma, the ex-wife of D. Oswald Heist, did more good or bad for Alana, Marko and Hazel. On the one hand, she helped Alana get and keep her job on the Open Circuit while they were in hiding. On the other hand, she sold them out, got Alana hooked on drugs and gave Marko a batch of bad drugs that almost killed him. Alright, maybe she did a lot more bad. She made up for it in the end, though!
The main mode of transportation for the “Saga” characters is a sentient living tree that doubles as a spaceship. However, the years haven’t been kind to it, so during a certain battle, the ship suffers a fuel leak. Yuma and Ghus (a beloved talking seal) head down to check it out. Ghus discovers that the leak is inside of the fuel chamber and anyone who steps inside to repair it will die. After a big speech from the little seal, Ghus volunteers to go. However, Yuma knocks him out with a fire extinguisher, fixes it herself and is burned alive while high on Fadeaway. What a way to go.
9. IZABEL’S ORIGIN STORY
One of the regular companions in “Saga” is a Horror – a.k.a. a pink ghost with half of her intestines hanging out of her T-shirt – named Izabel. For the most part, Izabel is a source of comic relief during otherwise tense moments thanks to her teenage sense of rebellion and ingenuity. She’s also Hazel’s permanent nanny, and not only because she’s literally attached to the child’s soul.
Because of her usually chipper demeanor, it was especially sobering to see her put Alana in her place when the latter lashed out at her immediately after having her big fight with Marko. Izabel did so by reminding Alana that she wasn’t always a ghost. When she was still living and walking on two legs, she had a life of her own and a girlfriend she loved dearly. Then, one day, she walked across a land mine and died instantly before getting to tell her lover how she truly felt. Therefore, she knows as much about loss as anyone else in the series.
8. IZABEL DYING (AGAIN)
Throughout her entire appearance while traveling with the “Saga” family, Izabel’s been one of the most consistently loyal people they’ve met in their journey. This can be tough, since the family almost always seem to be expanding, including taking in people who sometimes ended up being their enemies at some point (like Prince Robot IV). From their very first encounter, Izabel was doing what she could to protect them from harm, whether it be using her ghostly powers to scare someone off or just being there for Marko or Alana to bounce their ideas and frustrations off of.
Well, readers were in for a big surprise when Izabel was killed by the latest bounty hunters to hone in on the family’s trail. Given her incredibly likeable character and fierce sense of loyalty, it’s only fitting that the reason she’d get taken out was because she didn’t want to sell them out to a couple of Freelancers. If one thing’s been made clear in “Saga,” it’s that no one is safe from death. Not even ghosts.
7. BARR’S FINAL GIFT
Many families aren’t just made up of parents and their kids. In a lot of cases, an immediate family can expand to include aunts and uncles or grandparents. The latter was the case for Hazel’s family as Marko’s mother and father magically showed up one day. They literally popped out of a portal and started attacking Alana, being under the impression that she had killed Marko. Fortunately, it was a false alarm (as explained by the frantic Marko in mid-combat), so Barr and Karla’s sense of urgency allowed them to meet their granddaughter before it was too late.
It was soon revealed that Barr was terminally ill and only had a handful of months left to live. Unfortunately, those few months quickly became a few minutes, because Barr had to use the last of his energy on a spell meant to save the rocket tree ship from being destroyed. Alana, who he had just warmed up to, was the only one there as Barr faded away before Marko and Karla walked in.
6. HAZEL REVEALING HER WINGS
Given that her entire existence could potentially end a war that’s spanned decades, she’s always had to deal with bigger issues than most people would at her age. This including constantly having to hide her true identity from everyone she met and always being on the run. She even found herself separated from her parents for over a year and kept in a detention center. That’s a lot of pressure for a kid. Eventually, she broke.
One day, she got her teacher at the detention center alone and revealed her beautiful wings in all their splendor. This was something Hazel had wanted to do her entire life but had always been instructed not to. The weight of the world was lifted off of her tiny shoulders in that one instant. Seeing those wings fully expanded in the image above was cathartic for both Hazel and the reader. At least, until her teacher fainted and bashed her head open on a coffee table.
5. SIR ROBOT CRACKS
Prince Robot IV could’ve easily been a throwaway character. There are probably dozens of people trying to track down Alana, Marko and Hazel for a bunch of different reasons and he was just one of them. However, his story developed into something much deeper as he made it his personal mission to rescue the newborn son he had yet to meet (he was offworld on the chase when his boy was born) from the child’s kidnapper.
In order to do so, Robot formed an unlikely alliance with Marko, one of the very people he was assigned to capture. Word eventually got back to the Robot Kingdom and he was stripped of his royal status, and changed his name to Sir Robot. This dramatic fall from grace combined with years of war experience and the tragic loss of his wife would be a lot for anyone to handle. The last we saw of Sir Robot, he was high out of his mind, being incredibly forceful with Alana (despite desperately trying not to let his screen reveal his fetishistic thoughts of her) and holding his own blaster cannon up to his head.
4. MARKO FINALLY FACES GWENDOLYN
A lot of the time you don’t see heartbreak coming and even when you do, it still feels like you got hit by a brick wall. Some people take that pain and turn it into something positive. Some people use it as motivation to venture across the galaxy to hunt down the person responsible for ripping their heart out. Gwendolyn, Marko’s ex fiancée, would be the latter.
Back on Wreath, Marko and Gwendolyn were happily engaged when he was sent off to fight in the war while she got stuck at home. They stayed in contact for a while as Marko started to lose his motivation for battle, later eventually falling in love with Alana after he was captured. Once she caught wind that another woman was not only with her fiancé, but married him with the ring meant for her, she did whatever it took to find them.
When she confronted Marko at D. Oswald Heist’s lighthouse, he could only hang his head, apologize and tell her that he couldn’t do anything to help her save the life of man she now loved (The Will). It was an interesting mix of sad and anticlimactic, since at this point, we’d seen both characters move on while the chase was taking place.
3. SOPHIE STABS THE WILL
After crash landing on a random planet, Sophie, The Will and Gwendolyn decided to eat some berries they found. Little did they know, the berries were hallucinogenic and kicked in really quickly. The Will saw his dead ex-girlfriend who told him to act on his impulses. Sophie, on the other hand, saw a vision of her mother, who told her to grab a knife and stab The Will. When The Will realized what was happening, it was already too late as Sophie was standing behind him with a knife inches from his throat. As he blacked out from the blood loss, he made sure to tell her that none of what happened was her fault.
In her short life, Sophie has already known far more struggle and unfairness than anyone ever should, which is why her being saved by The Will and Gwendolyn was such a precious moment. These total strangers became the people who consistently cared about her the most in her entire life. The scene is heartbreaking because you know how much The Will means to her and how she’s going to feel about her actions once she’s sobered up.
2. REALIZING HAZEL MISSED OUT ON HER CHILDHOOD
Growing up in a land of war can easily rob children of their innocence. Hazel was definitely no exception to this. As mentioned earlier, she even spent some time in a prison/internment camp.
Instead of not believing in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy, Hazel’s youthful skepticism went much deeper as she was already wondering about death and the afterlife at a very young age. After Izabel died, Hazel could feel the void it left inside of her. While everyone around her attempted to console her and let her know things would be alright, she just knew they wouldn’t. She took some time to process it all, part of which included her talking with a friend named Kurti about where people go when they die. Keep in mind, Kurti’s around the same age as her and his life is basically just as chaotic. Somehow, he took the pessimism of a broken-hearted little girl and said just the right thing to give her a little hope again.
1. THE STALK DIES IN THE LINE OF DUTY
Again, even bounty hunters have hearts. It actually makes a lot of sense for them to fall in love with each other, because they understand the lifestyle better than anyone else. This made it refreshing to see The Will, who was mostly the cold, brooding type up to that point, have a soft spot for The Stalk, an eight-legged spider woman.
While on Sextillion, The Will called the woman he loved to ask her for advice. Sadly, he ended up hearing her last moments as she was shot dead in an unnecessary conflict with the Robot Kingdom. He never really got over this and would go on to dream of and see visions of The Stalk for years, even getting himself fired as a Freelancer.
While these moment showed The Will’s softer side, they also revealed just how dark and bloodthirsty he could become. When a soldier from the Robot Kingdom picked up the phone to let him know The Stalk was dead, he went full “Taken” with the threats, and understandably so.
What moments did you think were the most emotional or impactful? Take a second to let us know in the comments!