Saga, chapter twelve
Brian Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Image Comics, April 2013
We open as chapters of Saga so often do, in a flashback or dream. This time, it’s both. The war flashback of Prince Robot IV gives this chapter the shouting action that the genre demands so that the present-day, waking-world events can proceed at a suitable pace. Slower.
After several chapters involving the freelancer (a sort of assassin) named “The Will,” the decision to close Book Two of Saga on the other major enemy, Prince Robot IV is a fairly significant jump in idea and tone. Where The Will is all action, all chase, all square-jawed-adventure, Prince Robot IV is like a detective. He’s done his life’s share of fighting. His Highness was an active duty soldier in the war but his official tour of duty has already ended. IV’s current assignment reveals that his true nature is cerebral. While The Will crushes people’s heads or swings by rope, Prince Robot IV talks. Leisurely. His investigations are usually polite or at least cordial but he is prone to sudden outbursts of violence when he finds the people who he interrogates to be uncooperative.
Prince Robot IV is the prince of The Robot Kingdom. His wife is pregnant for the first time and he does not want to play hunter. His mission to kill the heroes of the story isn’t personal to him. His temper flares because he wants to be at home. On the other hand, his capacity for patience seems to increase as he suspects that his prey will soon fall into his lap. In the end, inaction is action for Prince Robot IV.