Yes, it’s once again that time where arguably the most consistent title has graced our eyeballs, and hearts. I’m always ironically surprised to see when Brian K. Vaughan (writer) surprises me when I’m reading SAGA, and he did it again in this issue. Taking us readers to probably one of my favorite characters in the entire series, GHÜS, and again allowing the story to lose focus on our main cast of characters while shining a spotlight on what we could argue are the “supporting cast.” Solid, great writing amplified by the seeming perfection of Fiona Staples’ (artist) fantastic art.
Both last issue and this were examples of an overall round story that we’ve come to love SAGA for being. I’m instantly in love with this “brand” of storytelling from Vaughan that he’s used the last two issues. Breaking off from the normal “bread and butter,” and turning to the broth of the soup to tell a different layer of the current arc. It’s definitely giving a different perspective, and delivering to us (the readers) things we’ve been wanting.
I personally was curious (going into the ending of the arc) what exactly was going on with Ghüs, Squire and company. It had been a while since we last seen them, and it was a refreshing way to reintroduce them to us, as the story in general was quite intriguing. Seeing that they don’t have any food, that starving was a very large possibility for them, which caused the crew to contemplate on killing FRIENDO to harvest him so they didn’t starve.
Every time we get the curtain pulled back a little further from Ghüs, his character becomes that much more awesome for what we see him as. It’s the old quote, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” and that’s taken to a whole different level. One that I find makes the stories better and better as the cast (of characters) become far more complex.
This particular issue played well with Ghüs as a figure of loyalty, sacrifice and wisdom, in which he would rather hold out for Marko, Alana and crew so Friendo didn’t have to die, but conceding enough to accept a “life altering” ultimatum; go out, slay and bring back a DREAD NAUGHT.
Now, normally no one can see a Dread Naught due to the fact that they’re invisible. Though Squire (and his kind) can see their insides. This quest placed Ghüs and him at a disadvantage in the fact only one could see it, but yet allowed for Squire to learn how to hunt.
It was inevitable that the scenario wouldn’t end in their favor. My only concern was whether we’d see one (or both) get 86’ed in their encounter.
When thinking back over the course of the endings to each arc of SAGA, you see how Vaughan likes to close up with characters learning “life lessons,” and get a bit of a look at who they are. Seeing Squire unable to kill the Dread Naught gives a vibe that he’s not exactly like his father, and I think it’ll be an interesting development of the character going forward.
But not only is there moments of self-reflection, but of true pondering, and dark realizations of the real world around us. It’s these moments that set SAGA above most of the other titles out, and that you can almost always count on.
Ghüs’ interaction with Squire (above panel) brings to the forefront one of the darkest truths of history. Sometimes, when you’re at war, the only thing to be done is kill your enemy. It often seems like a moral issue, and that’s how many take it, but it’s not. It’s a survival issue, and we know from Charles Darwin’s discovery of evolution that it’s truly a matter of survival of the fittest.
Now true, that may not necessarily mean what it has for the majority of life, but it still applies. And with it in context to the way that SAGA is, and the fact that it was a moment of teaching Squire the darkness of how life works, I found this to be one of my all time favorite moments.
Getting a small glimpse of our cast, and a feeling of how things will be going forward get my blood pumping. Knowing that they’re being hunted down, it adds a level of foreknowledge for the readers as we see the arc end on a “happy” note.