Review: Saga #33

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.06.42 PMWell, now it’s becoming fairly obvious that whatever this arc of Saga is going for, it won’t conclude until several different plot threads convene into one place. Instead of picking up where #31 or #32 left off, #33 picks up a different thread, this time with Upsher and Doff, who have not been seen since The Brand dosed them with Embargon to keep them from reporting on Marko and Alana. Now realizing that the Brand is dead, the two decide to pick up where they left off in the story years ago. Well, Upsher decides this first and eventually convinces his partner in both life and journalism to join him.

The story is fine. It’s not a bad one and I’m certain these rabbit trails are going to make sense by the end of the arc when everything comes together. However, that’s what they honestly feel like right now: rabbit trails. I trust Vaughan and Staples for their endgame, but reading about a pair of journalists that haven’t been seen in two arcs after everything that’s happened to Hazel, Alana and Marko in the previous two issues feels like it slows the pace of this arc down.

It is interesting to get to know more about Upsher and Doff though, especially as they revisit some of the places from old arcs, such as Outcome from the end of the previous arc and Gardenia, the planet Alana and Marko were hiding at before they were separated the first time. They even revisit Ginny, the dance instructor who was having flirtations with Marko during an especially rough part of his marriage. Ginny is such a darling character that it makes her complete trust in Marko even more tragic. He’s apparently still had contact with her, which will probably blow up in some faces at some point. Nothing in Saga is ever left alone for long.

Doff is probably the MVP of this issue. He’s a bit less gung-ho about things than Upsher, but it ends up making them the heart of the team overall, seeing the story as the story of a little girl in danger and not about a kidnapped woman from Landfall the way Upsher has been viewing it. His concern as the story goes on becomes more about Hazel’s well-being, which is either going to help or hurt him in the long run.

Fiona Staples and her art deserves all the praise in the world, as usual, but it’s easy to forget that between her covers, backgrounds and character designs that she has such a talent for expressive faces. I think I fell in love with Doff just based on a puppy dog eyes look he gives Upsher while they’re simultaneously discussing the story and having sex. There’s a reason Staples gets top billing in this book.

Of course, being Saga, the issue leaves off on a cliffhanger. There’s a character that returns, but in a Lee Adama after a year on New Caprica sort of way, and he’s forcefully recruiting Upsher and Doff to work for him. Uh oh.

Saga #33 feels like a diversion more than an actual advancement of the plot. Staples’ art is great as usual and it humanizes some characters we haven’t seen in a while, but it sometimes felt like I was about to scream “GET ON WITH IT” at the book. It’s not a bad issue, it’s just slow. By the time things pick up, it’s already over. It’ll be interesting to see how it all ties in in the long run, but as an individual issue, it’s not Saga’s finest hour.

Story: Brian K. Vaughan Art: Fiona Staples
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Read