"A Nighttime Smoke. You read it. You got it."
A Nighttime Smoke. You read it. You got it.”

Consider the plot of Saga #14 ancillary–it’s just writer Brian K. Vaughan moving pieces around the board, getting characters where they need to be when we inevitably catch up, time-wise, to the events that took place during Saga #12. Character building is what drives this month’s installment, in particular the absolute genius character interactions that Vaughan derives from pairing his characters together with some of the best dialogue of the series to date. For Saga, that’s quite an accomplishment. At this point there is not a single character in this issue that I could bare to see the series without.

Even Upsher and Doff, the two shady reporters shown briefly at the start of last month’s issue and again at the beginning of this issue, have their piece of this plot puzzle now with their snooping around Alana’s homeworld. The hilarious introduction of Alana’s stepmother Even provides a lot of context to Alana’s past and without over-stating it, there’s a definite understanding as to why Alana would join the military after her father married this…girl. Speaking of Alana, she gets to geek out when meeting her literary idol, but the best interaction of the issue comes when Heist sees both Alana and Marko with their baby Hazel for the first time and there is an immediate realization that not only have these two runaways from warring planets read his book, but they also understood the message. Heist also shares a private moment with Marko’s mother, Klara, that, if Hazel’s narration is any indication, means both characters with find their missing happiness.

Fiona Staples, on art, continues to deliver top-tier work, and her art is particularly strong when it comes to the will-they-won’t-they relationship of The Will and Gwendolyn. Her pages are so starkly bright compared to the rest of the issue that there’s almost a false sense of hope that these two characters with live happily ever after with Sophie and Lying Cat (who are getting along swimmingly). Of course the emphatically-vivid background drops out of the panel once Gwendolyn punches Will for making his move, and the way in which Staples draws his face right afterward tells us he didn’t see that coming. He’s hell-bent on retiring, but if the last panel is any indication, The Will is about to have a momentary distraction.

GNN Comics Grade: MINT (9/10)

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