Up to now, Saga's done a hell of a job introducing the villains by giving us reasons to admire them, if not flat-out like them. It's charming, that way. Now we get to meet Marko's parents, Klara and Barr, and we see their worst. Yeah Saga's like that. (Spoilers ensue.)
For context, Narrator!Hazel gives us a flashback to Marko's childhood, where Klara and Barr walk the kidd out to a historic battlefield and make him witness firsthand the horrible bloodshed that took place. It was a slaughter, courtesy of the "evil f*cks with the wings." It left an impression. After decades of war— and the fact that both armies had moved away from fighting on their own turf— most families on Wreath had tried not to think about it much. Klara and Barr thought about it plenty.
Back aboard their wooden rocket, the elder horn heads aren't winning any points. They've barged in unannounced, banished Izabel to the nearest planet, and are dropping racial slurs on the mother of Marko's child. These aren't the bad guys, they're family.
Klara's brash, judgmental, forceful, and underestimates her son. I don't love her, so far. Marko grabs his dad's magic helmet and leaps through a magic tear in reality, off to fetch their babysitter. Klara shouts after him that he doesn't know what he's doing, and Marko's reaction is perfect: "You have no idea what I know."
She goes chasing off after her son, while Barr and Alana are left in awkward silence. "Cool," says Alana. "So glad I got to do all this in a towel."
Playing the diplomat, Barr makes apologies for his wife. (I can see where Marko gets it from.) Alana has no interest in dredging up the war, and leaves. Barr follows her up the stairs, wanting a look at his grandkid. (What grandpa wouldn't?)
On a desolate wasteland (read: shithole), Klara keeps saying hateful things, criticizing her kid for actions she wasn't there to see, and reveals that the Will paid her and Barr a visit not that long ago. Marko asks how they could afford a pair of crash helms, and she responds, "we sold the house."
To which he replies, "How could you be so stupid?" This earns him a smack in the face.
(I'll say this about Marko's family: not a one of them knows how to pull their punches. The ram horns make sense, I imagine there's been no shortage of butting heads.)
Before they can continue their argument, they're interrupted by the arrival of an angry, naked colossus in dire need of some antibiotics. It's not pretty. (But then, the planetoid doesn't seem to have a Men's Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Big and Tall open at this hour, so I can see why he's traveling au naturale.)
Little touches. Saga continues to be full of little touches, thanks to the deft work of Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Prince Robot IV's commandeered ship 'ports in, his face/screen a mask of static. He's seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
The Will is still crushed by the Stalk's demise, and has set down on a random planet to get Lying Cat out of the house so he can reminisce in private.
Back on the rocket, Alana has Barr tied up in the ship's own vines— it likes her, it doesn't like him. He cuts himself loose with a secret, or in this case, a bombshell: Marko's dad has less than a month to live.
He knocks out Alana with a sleep spell, only to catch Hazel before she falls... cradling her like the precious thing she is. "Hazel, eh? Beautiful goddamn name." In the span of 22 pages, Barr's become the counterbalance to his shrew of a wife: calm, vulnerable, maybe even kind. It remains to be seen... but I like where it's going.
Casey Jones wrote All Fall Down and some screenplays full of murders. Feel free to visit his lair at www.caseyjonescaseyjones.com.