Chapter 14 is just outside the sweet spot on my favorite arc in Saga, so far. The whole thing is technically a flashback, not that it matters. It's setting up a moment— however brief— of regrouping and restoration for our unlikely family. It's a breather episode, and a good one. (Spoilers ensue.)

Our intrepid (tabloid) reporters arrive on Landfall to meet Even, Alana's mom stepmom. She's young enough to be Alana's sister, and the wedding photo shows that Alana openly despises her. "She joined the armed forces a few months after I moved in." That explains a lot.

Obnoxious stepmom aside, the scene illustrates that a) Alana's family has been threatened in the event that they talk to the press, b) Alana joined the military for the wrong reasons, which helps explain why she abandoned it, and c) Alana never goes home again. That last bit comes courtesy of Future!Hazel's narration, but she quickly shuts up about it.

This is NOT the first hint that Hazel's parents may not live to see her reach adulthood. It's a bit ominous, but the rest of the issue is so light in tone as so's you might not notice.

Anyway. On Quietus, Alana and Marko introduce their favorite author to their daughter, whom he inspired into existence. The Oh Crap moment on his face says it all. To wit, most babies get some form of baptism, in their first weeks.

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Hazel's... yeah. She's gonna need a bath. Grandma Klara is unimpressed and ready to split, but they've got good reasons to stick around. a) the ship has no first aid kit for her maimed ear. b) the bone bugs that took it off are still close by. c) Oswald owes them a load of laundry, at the very least.

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Elsewhere, on a planetoid with no name— that I know of— The Will gives Gwendolyn a lesson in shark-lancing. (That's... that's not a metaphor.) She skewers an air shark, and brings it down neatly. Slave Girl Sophie offers to cook their catch. While she runs off to get her knives (the six-year-old has knives), Gwen and The Will discuss their plans. The Will's confident he can pick up the scent again on our heroes.

Vicariously, that is. He's not interested in leaving the planet. At all. The Spectre!Stalk is still whispering in The Will's ear, coaching him to stay exactly where he is. It's ominous as hell, and I'd be more wigged out if it didn't seem like sound advice: Abandon revenge. Move on with your life. Stay in paradise with the woman you've fallen love with.

Wait, what?

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The Will plants one on Gwendolyn... who then returns the favor. "Next time you touch me without asking, I punch your goddamn heart out," she warns. All The Spectre!Stalk hears is, "without asking."

Heist escorts his guests to his house, and his writing room. It's festooned with full shelves, empty bottles, and an idea wall for his current project. "Holy crap," says Izabel, "I knew this dude was a serial killer." Ha ha, all writers are eccentric drunks. (It happens to be true, but we don't like it being public knowledge.) Heist goes about getting a balm for Klara's ear... 'til he hears she was at the Battle of Cartwright.

Klara goes on ingratiating herself with such lines as "You people never should have agreed to fight alongside those Coalition butchers." To date, she's been condescending, rude, racist, wrong on several occasions, and more or less no help whatsoever. I kinda hate her. Her intuition continues to be off the mark: Heist's first wife was a civilian casualty, not a soldier.

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Heist lost not only his first true love, but his son as well, to the war. He's in a unique position to know what Klara's going through. "I regret to inform you that the rest of your days will be, by and large, kind of shit." Damn. Klara joins Heist for a drink.

Then, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples give us what has to be the single sweetest moment to date, in the series. You need to see it for yourself. Suffice it to say, it involves Sophie, Lying Cat, and a step towards renewal. I appear to have something in my eye. I love this comic.

Lastly, The Will gets a phone call from an anthropomorphized Weasel, because of course he does. (Who else would make such a good snitch?) Prince Robot IV has stopped by with The Stalk's ship... on his way to Quietus.

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I've already touted the merits of this issue. Go pick it up, or the TPB in which it's included. You will not be disappointed.

~

Casey Jones is a writer and VO artist. Visit him at www.caseyjonescaseyjones.com.