Saga is back from hiatus and as the cover suggests our focus will be on Hazel, the daughter of our protagonists who has been narrating since the first page. This series is so popular and so consistently solid that I’m not sure we even need to ask: is it good?
Saga #31 (Image Comics)
Expecting a check-in with all the characters is not gonna happen in this issue. Instead we’re getting a recap of what happened to Hazel and her grandmother. From there the issue shows us what she’s up to and in large part this new issue focuses on the identity crisis Hazel and all preteens go through.
Why does this book matter?
Easily the most popular science fiction comic today, the superstar artist and writer combo have proven this is great drama. Plus every single issue seems to stick a shocking moment, from giant balls to horrible murders. Sounds exciting!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Not to give too much away but Hazel is dealing with her wings being an issue for others in this issue. She’s now four years old and she must hide the wings. She’s clearly dealing with an issue many of us had to deal with growing up: hiding something you’re ashamed of and not being comfortable in your own body. This element is well written and it’s clear Brian K. Vaughan is building up this next arc to revolve around that.
Though Hazel is safe she’s still a prisoner and while she’s getting good care she’s still in a noncombatant prison. That means a different lifestyle. Since we don’t cut away we’re stuck inside the prison walls with her and it’s a bit sad and awkward. Vaughan doesn’t show us what her life is like beyond the classroom and showers, but that’s enough to get a strong impression.
Fiona Staples’ art continues to shine through with some nice new character designs to go with them. Action fans get a brief scene and yes, there is a customary shock shot that’ll get people talking. This scene might bring on some transgender talk if it catches wind in the media.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Since this issue stays inside a prison, save for some flashbacks, it doesn’t feel urgent or exciting. In a lot of ways it’s treading new ground, but it’s not doing so very quickly. We’re seeing a boring prison life basically, which is a bit frustrating since it’d be great to see how far Hazel’s parents have come. Overall this is a check in sort of issue without many surprises so it reads rather boringly.
Kids deal with PTSD differently…
Is It Good?
Saga is back, but while there are some shock moments and interesting growing pain issues in play, it’s a bit bland and slow.