by Ryan Mogge
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
The most successful plot turns are ones that feel surprising but, in retrospect, inevitable. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples end Saga 46 with Petrichor and Robot in a passionate embrace. If this had happened on page one, perhaps the reader would have been thrown, but when the dust settles, it’s clear that this is where we were heading all along. Vaughan and Staples have fully established the depths of both Petrichor and Robot’s loneliness. Even their cliched verbal sparring into macking was telegraphed by the fact that they’ve both been reading romance novels, where kissing without first trading barbs is a rarity.
Staples and Vaughan are able to pull emotion out of moments that are both inevitable and cathartic. From the moment that Hazel met the spirit of her younger brother, the reader knew that he couldn’t stick around. Even so, he was written as a 3-dimensional character whose identity felt real and not just a vehicle for more loss.
Take the brief scene in which Hazel sings Kurti a lullaby. Described like this, it seems like a saccharine scene that could be in the third act of a Lifetime movie. Instead of repelling the reader with this kind of sentimentality, Vaughan and Staples have made a scene that is honestly affecting. Some of that can be attributed to the way that the moment is undercut at moments. Hazel cannot promise to remember her brother forever. She has already lost details of Kurti. She sings him a song that is both sweet and goofy and doesn’t immediately accept Kurti’s belief that she could be a great singer. The contrast between Hazel’s truthfulness borne of a life that is short and unfair and Kurti’s trust and belief in his big sister is powerful. There is something true to that dynamic. The baby of a family is the protected one. This is not just selfless, there is a need to keep the realities of the world away from someone who hasn’t felt the cruelties awaiting them. Kurti lives and fades without having to lose any of his innocence and there is something both tragic and beautiful about that.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?