The wait is over and Saga is back this week. The biggest question on my mind is how far into the future it jumps — and consequently, how old is Hazel?
Saga #37 (Image Comics)
So what’s it about? The Image summary reads:
NEW STORY ARC! “THE WAR FOR PHANG,” PART ONE. SAGA is back with its most epic storyline yet, and to celebrate, FIONA STAPLES graces this issue with a gorgeous wraparound cover! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. This arc is a self-contained “event” we’ve been building to since our very first issue, so now is the perfect time for readers who love SAGA’s bestselling collections to join our monthly adventures!
Why does this book matter?
This series is aiming to be considered the greatest science fiction comic book series of all time. That’s not solely because of the big ideas, or the originality, but for the character work. Brian K. Vaughan has managed to make every character likeable in their own way (even the villains) as well as imbue a sense of genuineness you just don’t see in comics everyday. Meanwhile, Fiona Staples is possibly the best artist at expressions and character acting, which is perfect for this type of story.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
She’s a cutey.
This issue contains every element that has made this series so good, which includes solid character work, surprises, and shock worthy moments. In regards to the latter, it’s kind of amazing Vaughan consistently manages to slip in shocking panels since everytime he does it you’ll think there’s no way he can top himself. He does so here. It’s not senseless shock content either as it conveys an important psychosis of one of the characters which will assuredly lead to more character work down the road.
Saga #37 does indeed cut forward in time and though it’s hard to determine how far into the future we are, we can tell based on the children growing up; this is an element of the series that’s quite nice because Vaughan connects the growing of children to the narrative – something many of us can relate to in our real life narrative. Because we move forward in time much of this issue is a check in with the main players and Vaughan does a good job setting up a central location for them all to meet. Considering the last arc felt like a miniseries or aside to the main narrative this is a welcome sign that things will mix up fast.
The idea that everyone is different is explored in this issue too. We all know our protagonists are from warring societies, but we get a bit of new info about another conflict that happens to have Marko and Alana’s races involved in. Vaughan also touches on the transgender character who – after reading this issue – will clearly have a big part in the story pushing forward.
Staples continues to do fantastic work. The characters are easy to read, the shock moment is right in your face (boy is it huge) and there’s a fantastic 9 panel page that shows us the thoughts of Prince Robot IV in vivid detail. I rather enjoyed the environments in this issue too with angelic flowers floating around a sleeping Hazel, a Secret Garden feel as characters forage, and simple yet effective war scenes in a montage sequence.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Aside from getting inside characters heads this is table setting 101. There’s no big turn of events, no deaths, no new threats rearing their heads just yet. The characters are checked in with, the next step outlined and taken. This issue won’t stick out in your mind when it’s all said and done, but it does continue the quality of the series.
Is It Good?
Saga #37 is a solid check-in issue that reveals the thoughts, prayers, and new direction for our cast of characters. The highlight might be the shocking in your face moment that reveals a tantalizing truth.