SAGA makes its triumphant return to comic book stores this week, and if you were concerned that the series lost a step during its hiatus, we’re here to put your mind at ease.
Disclaimer: This is a spoiler-free review. Due to the nature of the series and its long break, we will be discussing this issue in as little detail as possible, trying to focus instead on its tone and characters in a more abstract sense.
The last issue of SAGA came out on July 25, 2018, roughly three and a half years ago. That’s an insanely long break for one of the best-selling and most critically-acclaimed comics on the stands, and in that time, fans began to wonder if the series was actually ever going to return. Well return it has, and with the same, original creative team: artist Fiona Staples, writer Brian K. Vaughan, and letterer Fonografiks.
This is a difficult issue to review, because, well…it’s SAGA. As mentioned, it’s one of the best-selling series out there. If you’re a fan, chances are you were at your local comic shop this morning to pick up the new issue. But a lot can change in three years; as Vaughan mentions in his letter at the end of this new chapter, there are probably readers out there who have moved on from SAGA, or from comics entirely. So this review is for those people, the ones who are unsure whether or not they want to return to this world.
In short: you do.
Staples and Vaughan throw readers right back into this worn-torn galaxy, and it’s like we never left. We’re reunited with the characters we know and introduced to new ones who feel like they’ve always been there. Even though things have changed since we last saw Hazel and her family, this world still feels familiar, even with the introduction of new conflicts.
One of SAGA‘s greatest strengths has always been its ability to grab hold of you at the get-go and not let go until you run out of pages, and that still holds true. Staples’ art is full of emotion and kinetic energy — she’s the star of the show, with all due respect to BKV and Fonografiks. She fills this world with life and excitement, to the point where you’ll finish this double-sized issue in no time and start your re-read immediately.
Cast your reservations aside: SAGA is just as good as it’s ever been. It’s as funny, crass, and horny as you remember (damn, is this issue horny). Staples’ work has only gotten better since we last saw it. But crass humor and horniness aside, SAGA is still, at its core, a story about families and the flawed individuals that make them up.
That last sentence almost dovetailed into a soliloquy on all the things SAGA is about, but the fact of the matter is that SAGA is about a lot of things, good and bad, and that’s what makes it a relatable, beloved series that has (and will continue to) stand the test of time.
Read SAGA. That’s all.