This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
As its title would suggest, Saga is a series with an ambitious scope and a sprawling cast, one where the perspective often shifts between various groups of characters, even though we can count on Marko and Alana’s family to be at the center of events at any given time. It’s also a series where nothing stays the same for long, allowing for any number of shocking betrayals, alliances, deaths, and shifts in the status quo. This all comes heavily into play in Saga 54, an issue that upends the series’ world in ways we’ve never seen before, ways most of us probably were not prepared for. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Saga 35, originally released March 30th, 2016.
Shelby: One of the changes I’ve been trying to make for myself these last few years is in improving my communication. So many problems in both the real world and in fiction can be solved with just some simple communication. Every time two big-name superheroes meet for the first time, there’s always an issue devoted to them punching each other; if they just took two seconds to communicate a bit first, we’d be spared those boringly inevitable stories. The real problem, though, comes in when characters cannot communicate and have to act anyway. Characters who choose to act first, I got no sympathy for; it’s the ones that couldn’t even if they wanted to that I find the most intriguing and the most sympathetic. If you’re at all familiar with Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga, you’ll understand this sentiment completely. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Saga 29, originally released June 10th, 2015.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”
Drew: Written in the wake of the first World War, “The Second Coming” features some of the most vivid images in modernist poetry. The second stanza takes on a more biblical tone, name-dropping the titular second coming, but the first stanza, quoted above, features no hint of the divine — this is pure horror of war stuff. Of all the concepts Yeats evokes, the notion that “the best lack all conviction” might actually be the scariest to me. If war can change our values and convictions, what are we actually fighting for? Curiously, we talk about becoming a parent in similar ways: our values and priorities shift around when we have a child to care for. Saga has always existed at the weird intersection between war and parenthood, but issue 29 makes its exploration of the values we sacrifice in the name of either a bit more explicit. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan and Spencer are discussing Saga 24, originally released October 29th, 2014.
Ryan: You may be inclined to a small moment of panic when you begin reading Saga 24. I, personally, thought that I had skipped an issue somewhere. Last issue focused on the teased but unrealized extramarital affair between Marko and that hussy, Ginny, the fallouts of Alana’s fight with Marko, and Dengo using Yuma to abduct most of our protagonists in one fell swoop. This issue’s beautiful cover and opening scene reintroduce The Will’s sister, The Brand, toting a crash helm and her sidekick Sweet Boy on her search for her brother.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Saga 18, originally released January 29th, 2014.
Patrick: In the Season 2 episode of Community “Cooperative Calligraphy,” the group voluntarily sequesters itself in the study room until they can determine who stole Annie’s pen. Jeff eventually brings about peace by saying that he would rather believe the impossible — in this case, that a ghost stole it — than believe that one of his friends would subject the rest of them to this kind of psychological and emotional torture. It’s a play on the idea that we make ourselves believe all kinds of things that aren’t true in the name of love. We believe our friends and family to be capable of so much, exaggerating their talents or intelligence or compassion in our minds. Brian K Vaughan’s world has been punishing Marko and Alana for their love, but this issue tangibly rewards them for their blind faith in one another. It’s the metaphorical made real, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Saga 17, originally released December 18th, 2013.
Shelby: There’s a little snippet of folk lore that always gets tossed around when things are looking grim: the darkest hour is just before dawn. Meteorologically, I can’t speak to the accuracy of that statement, but anecdotally it means that things always look their worst just before they begin to get better. It’s meant to inspire hope; life may be dark now, but it just means that soon the sun will come up and things will be better. In the penultimate chapter of Saga’s latest arc, I would say things are definitely at their darkest hour, but since we’re reading a Brian K. Vaughan story, the old saying should probably read, “the point at which everything goes to hell in a hand-basket just before the arc is resolved, but probably someone will die.”
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Saga 16, originally released November 27th, 2013.
The best-laid plans of mice and men
Often go awry
Robert Burns, To A Mouse
Drew: I used to get so disappointed when the plans of a protagonist would change. It took me a long time to understand that those changes are the engine of drama, and even longer to appreciate that they reflect reality on a fundamental level. Our plans are always changing, sometimes due to external forces, and other times due to internal chances to our own priorities. Most narratives are loaded with the former type, but that latter type is rare. Rarer still are narratives where every character has their plans upended in both ways. Saga has long been one such rarity, and issue 16 reasserts the fragility of its characters’ plans. Continue reading →
We here at Retcon Punch are total saps for tradition and nostalgia and dumb stuff like that. So, in order to properly celebrate Thanksgiving with all the rest of you, Patrick came up with the best, most traditional way to do it: hand-traced turkeys.
We had a little craft time, and present to you, the Internet, the Retcon Punch First Annual Thanksgiving Superhero Hand Turkey Extravaganza!
First up is Mikyzptlk’s tremendous BoosTurkey Gold. More after the cut, Happy Thanksgiving!
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Saga 15, originally released October 30th, 2013.
Shelby: I don’t have any kids, but I assume parenting is hard. Not just because you’re trying to figure out how to keep this small creature safe and provide for it and raise it in a way that it doesn’t turn out to be a total douche (presumably that is a common parenting goal), you’ve also got to put up with a deluge of “help.” Everyone who’s raised a child, as well as no small number who haven’t, believe they know the best way to do it. And they are more than happy to give you all sorts of advice on the subject. No matter how sound that advice may be (like, “you should probably get a job”), if it’s unsolicited it will probably be poorly received.
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Saga 13, originally released September 25th, 2013.
Shelby: One of the big parts of growing up is learning that you can’t always have what you want. As a kid, when your parents tell you that you can’t have something, you pitch a fit in the middle of the Jewel-Osco, but as you grow up you learn to more appropriately deal with disappointment. It’s a process that never stops, because we constantly have things we want taken away from us. Sometimes we have to choose between two things we want, knowing that we’ll always be a little disappointed for the option we didn’t take. Sometimes we have to face the hard truth that we can never again have what was lost, no matter how badly we want it.