The Rigors of Family Life: A Review of Saga Vol. IV

Saga continues entering into its fourth volume and kicking off a new story arc. The first three volumes followed Alana and Marko as they tried to escape the pursuit of freelancers and government agents sent to kill them for having an inter-species relationship that resulted in a child (Hazel, our narrator). At the start of the fourth volume they have successfully gone into hiding and are living on the planet Gardenia where Alana is making a living acting on the Open Circuit, which is the setting’s equivalent of a soap opera channel.

The family dynamic has become strained by the Alana’s work schedule and the stress of staying in hiding, which Marko risks circumventing by going out in public disguised. We also see some of the issues that were present in the marriage become a bit more glaring now that they aren’t actively on the run but settled into something of a “normal” life.

One of my favorite things about Saga is how it is a real family story at its heart. On top of that, it isn’t a perfect one. We see a marriage that is real, that has issues, and that might not hold up. And around it is a huge space fantasy world. But it’s this realism that keeps the story grounded as well as unique. We’ve seen countless epic fantasy or space opera stories about galactic warfare and the hero’s journey, but I can’t name one that dwells so deeply on family life and maintains it as a central theme. To be honest, I have a hard time thinking of similar stories that have the same amount of powerful character focus.

On top of Marko and Alana’s troubles, Prince Robot IV’s family is also drawn into the ongoing conflict, becoming targets of a revolutionary movement in the Robot Kingdom. This plot line appears to be the major shaker in the new arc, providing the driving action that will move the story forward. I won’t spoil anything specific, but this leads to an interesting alliance that I can’t wait to see play out.

Saga continues to be one of the best stories out there in any medium. The fourth volume continues to provide the quality you’d expect, and I’m excited to see how the new story arc progresses.

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