This trade collects Saga issues #25-30. Saga is a tightly plotted, layered adventure featuring a rotating cast of regular characters and it would be confusing to start here. Go back to the beginning.
While still good and extremely intriguing,Vaughan and Staple’s graphic, explicit, disturbing epic seemed to lose a little momentum here for me. All three of the major plot threads and groupings of characters were decent but lacked some of the nebulous quality that has made Saga special. The quest to save The Will pushes really the grossness and explicitness of the comic, and unlike usual it feels like it’s there for its own sake instead of a natural part of the adventure. The last page of volume 4 left me beyond anxious for the latest installment, but to be honest I don’t think that potential was fully capitalized on. There could have been so much more to the teaming of fathers than CONSTANT bickering and threats. Alana’s thread progressed strongest, but even there it’s really the impending resolution that’s most interesting, and the rest felt like biding time.
Part of the issue here is as Vaughan tries to make his leads more complex he’s actually making all of his most likable characters less so. It’s a fine line to walk. Flawed characters are compelling characters, but the reader has to continue to want to see them rise above, not get annoyed by them or start to look down on them. Exacerbating the problem is the separation of key pairs of characters. It serves the story, but also robs it of some appeal. And while I like the “no one is safe” feeling, killing off recently introduced supporting cast looses impact fast. Established characters need to feel in jeopardy too if Vaughn wants that edge to the comic.
All that said, the conclusion of some ongoing plot lines towards the end of the trade are well done and set up the next one nicely. There’s good progression and some important developments here, even if it isn’t quite up to what’s come before.