Continuing their search for the truth regarding Alana’s possible kidnapping/defection, the intrepid reporters Upsher and Doff confront yet another of Alana’s former commanders, Special Agent Gale of Secret Intelligence. While Gale is reluctant to speak with them, which is putting it mildly, when they show him a picture of Alana snagging her poncho from a clothesline while wearing her wedding ring, he ushers them into his apartment and reveals to them that Alana never defected. She’s a spy for Landfall, one of the best, according to Gale. However, if Upsher and Doff continue digging for the truth, it could endanger millions of lives. He then undercuts a reasonable request by blackmailing the homosexual journalists who’re considered criminals on their home world of Jetsam and calls for a hit on them once they’ve left.
Unfortunately, the best man for the job of taking the two out isn’t returning anyone’s calls because he’s be brutally stabbed by a little girl high on the opiates produced by a planet’s ecosystem. Which I’m sure happens all the time. Gwendolyn, while searching for Sophie with Lying Cat, falls prey to the same hallucinations when she sees the woman who took her virginity calling to her. Thankfully, Lying Cat lets her know that the woman isn’t really there and Gwendolyn figures out that Sophie and The Will are in trouble. When she discovers the damage done to Will, she knows there’s only one person who can save him: Marko. On Quietus, the family of fugitives are still soaking in the restful few days they’ve had in Heist’s lighthouse, giving Marko and Alana some time to think more about how they’re going to earn a living and raise Hazel. The solution appears to be putting Alana in Circuits – Saga‘s equivalent of television – since she does have a previous background in acting, which she tries to downplay. The illusion of luxury, however, disappears quickly when the plot catches up with itself and Prince Robot IV shows up.
Sixteen issues in and Brian K. Vaughan has managed to create a menagerie of fleshed out, nuanced characters and suddenly he’s put the motivations of one half of the romantic duo into question. A lot of time and effort has been put into showing Marko and Alana’s romance, building it up like a science-fiction version of Romeo and Juliet. The lovers meet, quickly fall for one another, and run away together, though their actions have significant consequences. Now, Vaughan is setting up a new wrinkle in the story. Is the love between the two real? It certainly looks that way on Marko’s end, but the scenes involving Upsher and Doff uncovering Alana’s past, as well as brief scenes of Alana and Marko meeting for the first time and supposedly falling in love over Heist’s book can be viewed in a new light with this information. Vaughan reinforces our suspicions of Alana when she and Marko discuss her possibly becoming an actor on the Open Circuit. Alana says there’s more to acting than what Marko briefly saw and when Marko suggests he’d rather Hazel grow up around actors than soldiers, Alana quietly implies that he’s never been around actors enough to make that call. All of this is meant to keep us guessing about Alana’s true allegiance and Fiona Staples does a remarkable job of making Alana’s expressions as cryptic as possible. She’s becoming less of the open book she was at the beginning of Saga, which is almost uncomfortable to look at because Vaughan and Staples have made us care so much about Alana and Marko as a couple.
There is, however, a glimmer of hope that Alana’s defection was real for the reasons we think. Hazel’s narration implies that she was raised by her parents, so if Alana was a spy, perhaps she truly did fall in love with Marko over the course of their time on the run that resulted in Hazel being conceived. There’s also Hazel to consider. That’s some pretty deep cover for Alana to risk getting pregnant just to somehow spy on the enemy when it seems Marko isn’t all that involved in his people’s affairs. There’s also the possibility that Special Agent Gale said Alana was a spy to throw the journalists off, though his call for a hit on them a clear indicator that they’re getting to the bottom of something. All I know is Vaughan is going to do his damnedest to keep us guessing until some sort of reveal occurs.
Final Thoughts: It’s Vaughan’s story to tell and though Heist he proclaims that stories always follow a formula, but the best stories break all the rules for the fun of an adventure. Considering what the next issue has in store, this adventure is only getting started.