"Saga" has always been a story about family bonds, but "Saga" #30 takes that to a whole new level. With three different groups of characters all being driven by those familial ties, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples bring the fifth volume of "Saga" to a close in an emotionally explosive manner.
It's hard to keep from trying to compare the three different core families in "Saga" #30: Alana/Marko/Hazel/Klara, Prince Robot IV/his son and Sophie/The Will/The Brand. One is composed of two species at war, another is of a single streamlined species and a third is as much a family that's created by its members as it is biological. In all three, it's the drive by members of the families to stay united that pushes the story forward, both for good and for ill.
What's great about "Saga" #30 is that Vaughan's script gives us a balance between those two possible outcomes. Some of the characters are so driven by this need that they accomplish great things; Marko's impossible catching up with his family, for example, or Sophie's victory in bringing the Will back to life. On the flipside, we have Klara's decision to not leave the ship with Hazel immediately or Dengo's series of poor choices in capturing Prince Robot IV's son and the rest of our cast and allying himself with the Lost Revolution. Every single choice that Dengo in particular makes is in the name of his dead son Jokum, and every one of those choices spells disaster for our protagonists. The power that family wields over people isn't always a good thing in the world of "Saga," and it gives us the most brutal cliffhanger at the end of a story arc to date. Add in a strong dose of action, not all of the characters making it out alive and a surprise or two lurking around the corner and you'll be jumping from start to finish.
Staples's art continues to make her a superstar, with even something as simple as making an icy tundra look appealing and intriguing. The corridors of a spaceship are carefully defined with just the right drab paint colors, and the skid marks of a ship that's crashed onto a planet are kept from being uniform or boring, instead jagged with pieces of metal littered in its path. As for the characters, they're as lively as ever. Alana's face when she screams, "Do I look like I'm acting?" is filled with such rage that it's actually even more forceful than the dialogue alone would provide. When a character dies and falls backwards into the snow, the blue blood and guts spray out in such a manner that it brings the motion that much more to life. Add in some beautiful lettering from Fonografiks that is never intrusive but rather integrates itself into the art, and you end up with the full, perfect package.
"Saga" #30 is another strong comic by Vaughan and Staples. It brings home the central themes of the comic in a way that shows rather than merely tells, and it will make you positively ache in the wait over the next several months for "Saga" #31. This is a knock-out comic in one of the strongest ongoing series being published right now. Well done, everyone involved.