After yet another six-month hiatus, Saga is back! As always, it’s written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. Is it good?
Saga #19 (Image Comics)
Well, yeah, of course it’s is good. It’s great, even. Every issue of Saga is great. Even the best comics can have their “off” issues, but Saga’s range of quality seemingly varies between “pretty great” and “really great.” But you already knew that, didn’t you? I mean, you’ve visited this site, which means that you’re probably a comic book reader, which means that you probably read Saga, which means that you’ve probably already purchased, read, and enjoyed Saga #19, which means that you are probably—no, definitely—only reading this review simply because you enjoy reading my reviews, which means that you probably consider me the smartest, cleverest, and most handsome writer in the comics-reading community.
But alas, I would be neglecting my duties as a critic to run on such assumptions. Besides, despite the fact that nobody would blame Vaughan and Staples if they ran on the assumption that everyone reading Chapter 19 is already caught up on chapters 1-18, this issue is actually a fine jumping on point for new readers. So if the creators of Saga recognize the existence of new Saga readers, I suppose that I can do the same.
I hope that potential new readers aren’t turned off by the fact that Saga #19’s opening splash is an explicit birth scene complete with a detailed illustration of a vagina and anus. Granted, if that kind of thing freaks you out too much, Saga may not be for you, as there tends to be at least one highly naughty image like that in every issue.
Saga is definitely not family-friendly, but it is, at its core, a story about family, relationships, marriage, and everything that comes with it. All the sex and violence, all that wonderful weirdness with robots royalty and crocodile nurses—it’s all meant to serve an emotionally convincing, authentically relatable story. Veteran Saga readers already know this, but if #19 is your first issue, you’ll see what I mean by the time you finish reading this issue.
I know that some fans have lamented the lack of action in recent issues, but the series has benefited from a greater emphasis on its more soap-operatic elements. This is another relatively quiet issue, as we see Marko spending some quality time with Hazel (who now appears to be around two years old) and Alana tries to make ends meet with a crappy acting gig. Also, we briefly meet their new pet, which is awesome. And once again, Vaughan and Staples deliver an emotional gut-punch at the end.
The last time I reviewed Saga, I noted that as good as Saga is, it nonetheless feels over-praised. I stand by my belief that those screaming “BEST COMIC EVER” may want to give Maus or From Hell another look. But don’t let that dissuade you from reading what is at least one of the best, if not the best, comics going on right now. Saga is great, people, and I don’t doubt that it will continue to be talked about for years after it concludes (which hopefully won’t happen any time soon).
Is It Good?
This is one of the best issues of Saga yet, which is saying a lot.