My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Oh man this series just really hit its stride. In the first two volumes, it was hard to enjoy the central characters as much as, well, every single one of the side characters. Marko’s parents, The Will/Slave Girl/Gwendolyn (and The Stalk foreverr), Prince Robot IV—this one, though, I actually found myself enjoying the main characters’ story. Seeing more of their interactions with other people, instead of the very Romeo & Juliet bubble, was probably why.
While not as imaginative with the scenery or the aliens as in the first two volumes, the artwork does exactly what it needs to. Great lines, great use of color—the action scenes, the violence, the sex—all rendered with just the right mix of tones and highlights. This series and ‘Chew’ are selling me on full-color productions, I’ve got to admit. I can see it wouldn’t look the same in ink. Staples uses the color to highlight moments that would otherwise require sound effects or different compositional arrangements.
Storywise, I liked the shifting from peace to intense conflict and then back to the setup for the next segment. I’m not a fan of how rapidly they transitioned back and forth from stories, but I’m not sure where else they would have fit in the latest set of characters. It’s trickier to decide in something this short, with a relatively un-dense panel layout, as compared to something like ‘Ranma 1/2’ where Takahashi carries a massive cast along because, generally speaking, the pacing in manga is faster, and the volumes are overall longer.
I’m still experiencing feelings over the character(s?) they killed off. It says a lot that one of them only had a real presence in this volume. Aside from that, though, Gwendolyn is everything I hoped for and more, and the end of the book builds up not only her but Marko, and even Alana, moving further away from the previously established Romeo & Juliet mess.
Overall, though, this cements ‘Saga’ as a series worth keeping up with for me. I don’t think I could handle getting each piece as an individual issue—the wait between volumes is bad enough.