Friday 29 July 2016

Saga & Sex Criminals

Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan, 2016
Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
(July 2016)

I continue to love Saga. It is, as befits its name, now a sprawling soap opera of a thing with supremely engaging characters and at least two or three genuinely laugh out loud moments in each volume. Ghüs remains a joy every time he appears on the page, and god help me but Prince Robot is somehow hilarious, despite having proven to be an utter bastard.
Sadly, however, I think I’m done with Sex Criminals. While the new character of Alix is certainly intriguing, it was Suzy who really kept the story together for me. As it broadens out and she gets less and less airtime there needs to be something else to pick to the slack. Unfortunately for all concerned, the way Fraction appears to have chosen to do this is by ramping up the self-indulgent metatextual onanism to frankly repellent levels, and his acknowledgement that he’s doing so only makes it worse. We’re far beyond cheeky, we’re far beyond arch, we’re even (and this is the killer) beyond tiresome. I have limited tolerance for fourth-wall-breaking metawank at the best of times and its repeated use here is a total deal breaker. I get (believe me I get) that one of the principal attractions of masturbation is that it’s less effort than engaging with another person and keeping them amused as well. However, there are only so many times that a writer can directly ask the reader to finish things off themselves (as below) before you suspect that they’re just not interested in giving the situation the attention you feel it deserves. Sure, get in your principled lecture about whatever, but find a way to do it that isn’t literally the creators talking to themselves. You’re having your fun, but there is (at least) one other person here, y’know?

Worth a thousand words, etc...

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