The greatest comic in the world is back, and just in time.
“Right, where were we?” – Hazel
This issue starts off with a further look at Alana’s world of Landfall, where we see that it’s not only the heroes who have wings, the ordinary people do too. There’s also a flying horse and a flying mouse. Oh, and a bear patiently queuing up to hand in a form. An everyday version of Mos Eisley in miniature. Vaughan fleshes out his characters’ worlds with extraordinary details that are exciting, funny and then immediately after, unremarkable. You just accept them and they add extra layers to your immersion in his universe.
The plot and dialogue then moves into mostly recap mode, although the writing is so good that you barely notice, and don’t care. You’re just happy to be spending time with these characters again. It sure helps when they’re drawn by the best artist currently working in mainstream comics, Fiona Staples. The designs for the different species, the clothing, the movement, the acting… the storytelling. Near perfection. Saga marks one of the great meetings of writer and artist.
In truth, this is an average issue by Saga’s obscenely high standards. It does its job catching you up, there are some nice character moments, everyone gets introduced again, and then it’s done. Even so, it’s probably going to be the best comic to come out this week. An average issue for Saga still contains character development, sparkling dialogue, laugh-out-loud moments and all rendered in some of the best artwork that has ever been in a comic.
Saga was gone for too long this time: it’s been four months since the last issue, but its return now is timely. In a week where Todd McFarlane and his Frat Pack spouted the usual drivel to excuse/explain why there’s a lack of good female characters in mainstream comics, Vaughan returns to us Alana. Here we see her, baby in one hand, mace in the other, dispatching some animated skeletons in expert style.
It seems like every issue of Saga has had moments like that, moments that have probably never been in a comic, or anywhere else, before. In an age where you feel like the mainstream is moving in ever decreasing circles of repetition you cannot underestimate the significance of that.
Brian K. Vaughan (W), Fiona Staples (A) • Image Comics, $2.99, August 14, 2013