Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' "Saga" #15 finds Alana and Marko hiding out at Heist's lighthouse and trying to decide who (and what) they will be in the future -- no easy feat -- and one Alana finds herself desperate to avoid. Meanwhile, Gwendolyn is delighted to find The Will re-committed to their mission to hunt down Alana and Marko. Unfortunately, as readers frequently learn the hard way in "Saga," these characters exist in a vibrant but dangerous universe, and it asserts itself in deadly ways for this issue.
To be honest, I love that "Saga" is a decidedly adult comic. There's just as much call for the "decidedly adult" as there is for the "decidedly kid-friendly." It's when a comic feels the need to appeal to all audiences at once that it ends up in a grey, non-resonant mush. Some will find "Saga"#15 crass, some will find it realistic, some will find it hilarious, some will find it unnecessary -- the list goes on. This issue falls somewhere between the realistic and hilarious. Vaughan's characters are funny, and they talk like real people in a way readers can embrace and relate to. Never is that more true than in this issue where there is not only the regular amount of cussing, but also some frank discussion of sex acts. When it comes time for action instead of talk, it is frank and brutal as well. Vaughan does not pull punches with his characters, he lays it all bare, and as a result the reading is unbelievably compelling. It's hard to even look away.
Staples has so well-defined this title through her world building and character design that it is impossible to imagine "Saga" without her. There is a whimsy and almost creative abandon to her work that feels fresh and new. Her backgrounds remain fluid and deliberately soft and loose, while her figures strike a hard contrasting line, like stunning old-fashioned animation cels. Staples storytelling is exceptional, and she finds simple yet beautiful ways to relay Vaughan's tale. As always however, it's her stunning character work that draws the eye. Characters simply come alive under her pen.
Fifteen issues in, "Saga" has not stumbled once, delivering powerful comics with a shocking consistency. "Saga" is the definition of a well-considered, brilliant, beautiful comic that will stand the test of time. This is the bar to aim for.