Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

Saga #18, or Hellfire (Spoilers)

I've spent a fair bit of time praising the talents of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and with good reason. Their work's phenomenal. On top of the storytelling, the characterization, the structure, the pacing, the look of it all... Vaughan also knows how to write for the trade. To wit, the story's 3rd arc wraps up in chapter eighteen, so it can be sold as volume three of the trade paperback. (Spoilers ensue.)

So yeah, the feces has definitely collided with the oscillating air-cooling device. Heist is dead, Robot IV's catatonic, the building's on fire, and Klara's busted her hip in a vain attempt to save her new favorite author. Also, Lying Cat is ready to literally rip her face off.


Klara's "had enough", and doesn't see much point in going on. She provokes LC, but thankfully Izabel comes along and gives one of the best hauntings of her semi-transparent career.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't kick a character when she's down, but... Klara. She harps on Izabel for being useless, when she has yet to make a single viable contribution to the family or the plot. I confess I have a grudge against characters who don't contribute. She doesn't even help to lift Alana and Marko's spirits— every word out of her mouth is usually a complaint or something equally pessimistic. I'm pretty sure Klara's the worst.

Atop the lighthouse, Gwendolyn meets Marko and Alana face to face. Her introduction is charming. "So it's true? You really did fuck one of these animals." Gwen proves to be about 60% over Marko:she's fallen in love with The Will, but still carries a deep grudge for Marko breaking her heart. Which is fair. She's desperate to save The Will, when we learn something devastating: Marko's brand of healing magic only works on his species. There's nothing he can do to help The Will.


The newly rebooted Prince Robot IV comes around, requesting orders. Izabel gets him to carry Klara to safety.

Back up top, Gwen's ready to lance Alana through the heart, and fires. Marko pushes her off the ledge. Gwen still wants blood... which is too bad, really. Guess whose wings are more than just decoration?


This is a big moment. Alana's never flown a day in her life, she's believed her wings were vestigial at best. It's Marko's unshakeable faith that "[his] wife can do anything" that empowers her to rescue them all. Hot damn.


Elsewhere, the silenced journalist fishfolk look for ways to work around the Embargon curse, keeping them quiet about the big story. Well. Upsher's behind the idea. Doff is not— to the point that he turns down work that might have something to do with their forbidden story. (To his credit, it does.) Point is, Doff's been successfully intimidated. "No story's worth dying for."

At a MASH unit not far from Quietus, The Brand arrives to look after a gravely ill The Will. He's largely catatonic, possibly brain-dead. The Brand drops a bombshell— she's his sister... and evidently where he got the idea to name his ward and ex-Slave Girl. (I confess, I completely missed this, first few times around. I wasn't sure what the hell to take at face value.) The Will says her name in his delirium, and The Brand puts her head on his chest. Damn. Seems everybody's got family.


And time skip! The Rocket Tree lands in a park, on a planet we've yet to name. It puts down roots... and out step Alana and Hazel, looking about 2 years old. Time flies.

So. We've escaped the immediate threat of blood-thirsty killers actively pursuing our heroes. They got away, to someplace of relative safety. Onto entirely new dangers. I'm psyched. I mean, things have to get better sometime, right?




Casey Jones is an author and voice-over artist. He recently took up narrating books, but alas, they do not include rocket ship trees.

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