Review: SAGA CHAPTER FORTY-SIX (SPOILERS)
By RUSSELL BERGER
There’s one book that I read the second it hits the shelf, and that’s SAGA. Well, CHAPTER FORTY-SIX (or issue-46 depending on how you like to say it) hit shelves, and it’s the next installment in the arc “Welcome to Abortion Town.” In comics there are very few duos like Brian K. Vaughn (writer) and Fiona Staples (artist.) The two perfectly complement one another; from BKV’s style of story telling to Fiona’s magnificent art. We get that on max-level in this issue as it’s honestly one of my favorites through the entire run, thus far.
There was a couple of standout points in this issue that really made me enjoy it a bit more than others in the past. One of the standouts was the character, ENDWIFE, who we were introduced to in CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE.
Our first shot (as seen in the above panels from CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE & FORTY-SIX) of her was quite the shot, as she immediately comes off as an antagonist. Has a bit of a Hostile or Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe to her, which really sells the “brutal murder” sentiment behind what her character does… abortion. It’s something that SAGA does really well, which is touching on political and taboo topics and weaving them into the overall story in extremely interesting ways. And this issue didn’t let down on that aspect.
Endwife as the story went on became a character who appears quite more gray than black-and-white. We’re introduced in quick passing to her “pups,” which are all asleep in the living room and you can see there’s a lot more layers to the character than what some would call a “butcher.” Now whether or not Endwife will turn out to truly be an antagonist or not, BKV did a great job at keeping us on our heels with, because we see in her “theatre” how she has a patient who’s lying on a table next to Alana and said patient appears to be dead.
I feel like the character could very easily turn out to be evil, as the family that Sir Robot and Petrichor had run off referred to Endwife in the previous issue as a, “monster… and that’s not a figure of speech.”
Over the last issue or so BKV has really played with our heartstrings with the figment of Marko and Alana’s son, KURTI, who Alana has been manifesting since he died still inside her. Fiona has done a phenomenal job with giving us A+ quality panels that not only tell the story, but also bolster Hazel and Kurti’s almost sub-story relationship. We got to see what the two would be like if Kurti survived and was born.
But in this issue we really get that tear-jerker moment when it’s clear this issue is wrapping up “Welcome to Abortion Town” for it to be tied up in a nice bow next issue, as we get four pages of Kurti and Hazel coming to the understanding he’d be gone soon. We got a philosophical talk from Hazel, as Kurti had asked her, “Can an idea get deaded,” and she tells him, “Die. And I don’t think so, long as somebody remembers it.” It’s a powerful message. One that America is built on in the context of freedom never being able to die, so long there are those who remember what it takes for us to have it. I felt that the message is something America (and even the world) need to hear in what’s currently a very politically volatile climate, and the context of a comic book might not be the stage for such messages normally, but here was right on the nose.
My favorite moment of the entire issue was the side-by-side panels, which were on opposite pages (displayed in the image above,) and showed Kurti resting his head in Hazel’s lap as she sung him a lullaby she remembered from Isabel as he’s starting to fade away forever, and then the opposite being Hazel alone on the couch. It really sent home this message that I feel older Hazel (the narrator) has been trying to get across through the entire story, which is people come and go, and you can’t let that slow you down but instead make you stronger for knowing them.
Then came the ending of the issue, which I honestly saw coming. Sir Robot and Petrichor finally kiss. This entire issue built up to it, and BKV definitely threw some curve balls to throw us off of it, but in the end when you turn to the final page and you see them locking lips to screen (hah, hilarious, right?) I’m not trying to say it was a bad reveal, but if I had a complaint about this issue, it would be that BKV tried too hard, in my opinion, to sell us they were going to rip each other apart instead of what really happened.
Overall the issue was a top-5 for me. It hit expectations on all points. I give SAGA CHAPTER FORTY-SIX a well-earned 5 out of 5.
This issue is on the shelves of a local comic shop nearest you NOW, and SAGA CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN will hit the same shelves on Wednesday, September 27th.