I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I friggin’ can’t. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are slowly, but surely, tearing my heart out as I watch a train wreck happen right in front of me. It’s painful and yet I can’t look away. I’ve laughed at a lot of comics (because they were intentionally orsaga_21 unintentionally funny), I’ve gotten angry at comics, but this may be the first time that I’ve been depressed after reading an issue.

But, like I said, I still want more. Apparently I’m a masochist at heart.

Marko and Alana continue their slow slide towards the possible destruction of their family as Alana continues to take the drug Fadeaway while working in the Open Circuit and Marko finds that he may have a slight attraction to Hazel’s dance instructor, Ginny. Elsewhere, the Robot janitor who killed Princess Robot and stole her child makes his way towards a familiar planet and the memory-deficient Prince Robot IV finds out some devastating news.

Short, sweet, and simple right? If only Saga was like that. Sometimes I think the only thing that keeps me reading this arc is the off-chance that Vaughan and Staples will pull a one-eighty on me and completely turn the story around as they seem to do in order to get readers pumped for the next chapter. Unfortunately, this creative team have been brutally honest when it comes to the relationships depicted in their story. As Hazel wisely states, “From the moment it’s formed, a family is almost always under attack.” Of course there’s always a literal and figurative example of anything Hazel says. In the past, Marko and Alana would’ve been the primary example what with their fugitive status and all. Now it’s Prince Robot’s family. His wife’s been killed, his child stolen, and he’s only now recovered his memories after his battle at Heist’s lighthouse…more or less. Even though he’s been one of the primary antagonists for Marko and Alana, we’ve always known his motivations for going after them. Now that he’s been delivered the crushing blow of news, his war has become far more personal.

Marko and AlanaOn a more figurative level, Marko and Alana are facing internal attacks on their relationship that are entirely their own doing. The strain of Alana being at work all the time to support their family and Marko’s lonely house-husband routine have kept the two apart for most of the story; their coping skills aren’t exactly healthy either. This is perfectly illustrated when Marko surprises a still high Alana with candles and sexy times that turn out to be anything but sexy from the reader’s point of view. In fact, the whole scene is heartbreaking. Alana is still tripping after taking drugs to get through the day at work of product placement in lingerie (Vaughan continuing his jibes at media) and Marko is desperately trying to connect with his wife after Ginny shows some interest in him that’s a bit more than complaining about the trials of parenthood. What should be a romantic and/or erotic scene of two people who love each other coming together is juxtaposed by Hazel’s narration regarding how close and yet so far apart two people can be even if they love each other. Vaughan’s words and Staples’ beautiful art tell the same story in very different ways, neither of which make the reader feel good about the scene since we know what circumstances have spawned this “spontaneous” love-making. Though one has to wonder how long Marko was waiting in the shadows all naked-like before Alana entered the bedroom.

Final Thoughts: I would love an entire issue of Klara and Izabel interacting. Those two are definitely Saga’s Odd Couple!

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