It’s impossible to review this issue without making mention to the matter, which seems to be a series of poor miscommunication that was ultimately resolved. Having said that, this review will have all sorts of spoilers about the issue’s details, so be forewarned.
It’s also impossible to not go straight into the controversy because the opening page shows Prince Robot IV being attended to on the battlefield in a flashback with a postage stamp sized image of a guy performing oral sex on someone on Prince Robot IV’s TV screen face. This continues onto the next page as the said image changes to three dicks ejaculating into the said guy’s mouth.
Rather than be put off by this, I’m wondering why did Vaughan and Staples specifically use these images for that scene. I’m wondering whether they’re trying to tell us that this is what goes through Prince Robot IV’s mind when no one is around, and that he’s in the closet. If so, this means he’s not too comfortable about being married, which is a re-occurring source of anxiety for him. Basically, I’m giving Vaughan and Staples the benefit of the doubt that this is here to serve a storytelling payoff down the road, not court controversy just to sell more issues of Saga.
Now to get back on track, I have to hand it to Vaughan and Staples with the overall storytelling for this issue of Saga. This issue focuses on Prince Robot IV and his pursuit of Alaina and Marko. He has a ruthless intellect that is showcased in this issue, fully developing his characterization in this story and where he will ultimately fit in.
Hot on the tracks of Alaina and Marko, he stops off to investigate the author of A Nighttime Smoke, D. Oswald Heist. In many ways, their encounter is reminiscent of the opening scene to Inglorious Basterds with Prince Robot IV matching wits with the author as he tries to determine whether Marko and Alaina have reached out to him.
The dialogue in this scene is outstanding and creates a tension so strong that it’s hard to determine who will blink first. Almost on his way, things get dicey really fast when Heist is set off by Prince Robot IV’s parting comments. A dominant theme of Heist’s story is pacifism, which is rooted in the suicide of his son after his service in the war.
Boiling up to the surface, it’s hard to say whether Heist is a loose cannon or Prince Robot IV knew just how to tweak him, but I’d bet on the latter. After an altercation in which Prince Robot IV gets the better of Heist, he tells him “I’m more convinced than ever that these two insurgents are going to bring their little project to see you soon.” And the waiting begins for Marko and Alaina.
I won’t spoil the twist after this, but it’s fantastic and quite a cliffhanger. Forget any of the nonsense over the overblown controversy over this issue of Saga and just pick it up. Vaughan and Staples really put together a spectacular chapter that makes Saga possibly the best comic being published.