"Saga" #14 is, at its core, just another issue of the "Saga" series. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples continue to tell their long-reaching story, as we follow Alana, Marko, Hazel, and the rest of the supporting cast in their search for understanding and safety in a war-torn galaxy. But what's so great about "Saga" #14 is that it's a comic that understands and embraces the series' name, making this a compelling piece of a story that truly is a saga.
There's a ridiculously large amount of action going on in "Saga" #14. In just 22 pages we've got four different settings and 15 different characters on the proverbial stage, and all of them are shifting and moving towards the next stop in their journey. There's no stalling here, no playing for time. That's not an easy feat, and I have to commend Vaughan for being able to juggle so many characters in a way that give them all their own plot threads even while they're all tightly interconnected.
It's easy to pay the most attention to the section of "Saga" #14 set on Quietus. After all, Alana and Marko are our main characters, and their meeting with their beloved author Heist has been in the centerpiece of their particular narrative ever since the cliffhanger at the end of "Saga" #12. There's a lot of good material here: Heist skirts around but never quite hits any particular stereotype, for instance, and I love the relationship that Heist and Klara start to build. The idea of bonding through similar/shared experiences is one that we see in real life, after all, and I appreciate that it's moving at just the right pace.
There's a lot of great material in the other storylines, though. The tabloid reporters are entertaining, but more importantly I love what readers are starting to learn about Alana's past and how she ended up in the military. It's very much a show-don't-tell sequence, and Staples shows us so much in the way that she draws that wedding photograph with not only Alana's facial expression but also her body language that just radiates off the page. And while I enjoy the interplay between the Will and Gwendolyn, it's Sophie's scene with Lying Cat that will ultimately give readers a particularly gut punch. Every character has their own miniature saga, and seeing it play out here amidst all the others makes it that much more poignant.
Staples's art just looks better and better every month. There are so many great little moments, like Sophie giving a thoughtful chew while leaning on Lying Cat, or the way that Alana pulls Marko's shoulder as they head to the stairs in Heist's tower. Everyone just feels and moves in a natural way, and that's a book which has a character with ram's horns, another one who's a Cyclops, and a third that floats around in a spectral form with nothing below the waist but some ghostly intestines that hang out. Staples has found a way to mix the fantastical with the mundane, and it's just another important aspect of "Saga" and why it's so good.
"Saga" #14 is more than just another satisfying comic, it's a reminder of why "Saga" is a great comic book series. Vaughan and Staples are using the serialized format perfectly (the cliffhangers each month are excellent, as well as the rise and fall of the tension levels), and this has rapidly become a comic for the ages. With lots of little hints about events in Hazel's life much later down the line, it makes me hope that readers will get to see her entire life eventually play out. Right now, it feels like "Saga" could go on forever with the amount of material that the duo teases. I, for one, hope that it does.