When last we left our heroes, Marko was bleeding out, and Alana & Hazel were face to face with half a dozen corpsey apparitions. Pleasant introductions, they weren't. After landing our beloved new family squarely up $#!t creek, the beneficent Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples deigned to offer them a blood-soaked, transparent paddle. (Spoilers ensue.)
To make a long story short, the "Horrors" are essentially harmless spirits, bound to their native planet as its defenders in the afterlife. The sassy one hovering on what's left of her bowels goes by Izabel.
Marko's still on his way to dying, and the spell to patch him up requires snow. Spectral Orphan Annie knows where to find some— as well as a way off-planet— for a price: she gets to go with. The ghosts are bound to the place they were born— or to the wellbeing of a native. Luckily, lil' Hazel counts, at all of three days old.
Elsewhere, his Royal Hi-Fi-ness Robot IV, continues his investigation. After learning that Alana was (gasp!) a reader, he interrogates a POW to learn if she'd mentioned the book, or what it meant to her. He doesn't get far with questioning before his triceratops-faced pushes a button, smirking over the battle where IV nearly died. He takes it about as well as you'd expect.
What delights me as much as anything about this book (and all of it delights me) is the no-holds-barred snap decisions taking place. Prince Robot IV wouldn't hesitate to flat-out murder the POW bloodying his blaster-fist, if it meant putting him a step closer to his quarry (and by dint of that, a step closer to home). Here's a man who is intelligent, powerful, influential, and has absolutely no reason to hold back. It's going to be intense when he catches up.
Anyway. Back to the floaty ghost Izabel, teaching child-rearing 101. The (ex) eldest of seven kids, she knows a thing or two about babies, and is happy to offer advice. (For instance, she knows when Hazel's gassy, vs. hungry.) Izabel succeeds in leading Alana into an "ominous cave of doom" for a purported shortcut. With Marko slumped against death's door, she's running out of options.
Speaking of running, there's The Stalk, scampering for her life from a trio of wild boars. (It's nice to see that Vaughn and Staples note there's a difference between badass bounty hunter and bad ass safari hunter.) Spider-Woman (no relation) is ill-equipped for wild game, and is in need of a hand. Burned over a noodle incident on Dortminster, The Will is less than inclined to help her out. Words are exchanged, words I shouldn't type here. Suffice it to say that The Will's constant companion, Lying Cat, is less than impressed.
Another thing that's just fan-freaking-tastic here, is the abundance of promised-awesome in throwaway panels. What's that? The Will is blowing off his mission to visit a place called Sextillion? That won't be important or interesting, right? You'll have to read through to find out, you lucky so-and-sos.
With one last visit to Alana and the delirious Marko, they've boarded a boat through the mountain to someplace a little colder with (hopefully) enough snow to heal him in time. Marko's completely out of it, muttering about his beloved bride... named Gwendolyn.
In a comic book about alien races, never-ending wars, Lying Cats, Sex planets and TV-faced royalty, it is wonderful that the biggest gut punch of the chapter is about relationships. The splash page finale' is probably one of the reasons Saga has won three Eisners and a shelf full of Harvey awards. Ah hell, here you go.
Go buy this book. It will knock the wind out of you and leave you angry and hungry for more. It's out there. Go pick it up.
Casey Jones writes comics and screenplays. You can learn more about him at www.caseyjonescaseyjones.com.