Saga 53: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Spencer: In recent months our Saga coverage has focused quite a bit on how Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan have been taking their time, luxuriating in a slower pace and revealing more and more about their characters as they move pieces into place, setting up for a no doubt explosive finale. That said, no matter how much build up they have, grand confrontations don’t work the same way in Saga as they do in many other similar pieces of media; there’s no monologue-and-metaphor-filled matches of will, no intricately choreographed fight scenes, no thirty episode long battles as Namek slowly burns in the background. Instead, Saga’s finales reflect real life violence. They’re quick, brutal, often random, and care very little about the events that have led up to them or who’s right or wrong.  Continue reading

Thrillingly Putting the Pieces in Place in Saga 52

by Drew Baumgartner

Saga 52

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In this game, Fischer (playing Black) demonstrates noteworthy innovation and improvisation. Byrne (playing White), after a standard opening, makes a seemingly minor mistake on move 11, losing tempo by moving the same piece twice. Fischer pounces, with brilliant sacrificial play, culminating in an incredible queen sacrifice on move 17. Byrne captures the queen, but Fischer gets far too much material for it – a rook, two bishops, and a pawn. At the end, Fischer’s pieces coordinate to force checkmate, while Byrne’s queen sits, helpless, at the other end of the board.

Bobby Fischer’s Breakthrough: The Game of the Century

When someone says a chapter of a story is “putting the pieces in place,” it’s usually meant to point out some emotional shortcoming. Putting the pieces in place is seen as perfunctory, a perhaps necessary prelude to the actual drama to come, lacking in any real emotional investment (and maybe even drawing our attention to the invisible hand guiding circumstances into position). But I think that attitude is entirely shortsighted, privileging the fallout of events more than the setup, and ignoring that the “pieces” and “places” are the raw materials for drama, so how and why they’re there are essential story elements. It’s the kind of attitude that would make Bobby Fischer’s famous “Game of the Century” is only thrilling in its final moments, as he finally forced Byrne’s king into checkmate, but any chess fan can tell you that the ending was set up 21 moves earlier, which in turn may have been set up six moves earlier still, reminding us that the simple act of moving pieces on the board is what drives the drama in a game of chess. Obviously, Saga isn’t a game, and the characters aren’t chess pieces (royalty notwithstanding), but it’s just a thrilling to watch them scoot into attack position — even when we can’t see the attack coming. Continue reading

Dread, Anticipation, and Waiting in Saga 51

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The current arc of Saga has, in many ways, been a slower one. That’s not a complaint — Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples know exactly how to make even simple moments of domestic bliss, strife, or harmony absolutely riveting — just an observation. With Ianthe plotting in the background, and with Saga‘s track record of major twists and deaths coming at a fairly regular pace, there are likely some readers waiting impatiently to get to the next “big” moment and see exactly where this is all leading. Saga 51 brings us one step closer to a major reckoning, but it also reminds readers why these quieter issues are so essential to the series as a whole. Continue reading

The Weight of Memories in Saga 47

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

We all experience millions of moments. Some are life-changing, some represent a larger theme in our lives, and some don’t seem to mean much of anything. If you could choose three of these moments to tell your story, it would be hard not to stick to the benchmarks: births, deaths, weddings, etc. In Saga 47, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples give us a few glimpses into The Will’s past and, by the nature of storytelling, we know that these are not random, but their selection tells a story of its own.
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