REVIEW: 'Saga' #55 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


  SAGA #55

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 26, 2022
Cover Price: $2.99


At long last, Hazel and her star-crossed family are finally back and here to kick off a NEW STORY ARC! So, where the hell have they been? As thanks to fans' endless patience, the SAGA team is proud to return with a double-length issue-44 page of story for the regular $2.99 price point-without variant covers or gimmicky renumbering. Just more pulse-pounding adventure, heart-wrenching character drama, and gloriously graphic sex and violence, as SAGA begins the second half of the series and the most epic chapter yet!

The SAGA series has sold over 6.8 million copies to date across all formats, has been translated into 20 languages, and has garnered multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards, plus a Hugo Award, British Fantasy Award, Goodreads Choice Award, Shuster Award, Inkwell Award, Ringo Award, and more. It has been featured in such mainstream media outlets as TIME, Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic, NPR, and beyond, and has become a pop culture phenomenon.

★★★★★ (5/5)

It's not uncommon for a comic book series to go on hiatus for a while. A few months to a year even is not unheard of for a creative team to walk away to recharge and come back with a fresh storyline. However, what is surprising is to take a break for three years from a bestselling, award-winning, critically acclaimed, and beloved comic series like Image Comics' 'Saga.' Creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are back and show no signs of rust as the story of Hazel and galaxy-spanning family is as exciting and chaotic as ever. 

'Saga' has only solidified its place in the pantheon of the comic book medium in both stature and undying public interest. Its popularity has never waned, not after 54 issues or after an extended break. Demand for its back catalog has remained a constant as new readers fall under its spell and the release of issue 55 has fans lining up at local comic shops in anticipation. What makes it so great and resilient? Well, the answer to that lies in the new issue. Propulsive storytelling, unexpected twists, fascinating characters, steamy sexual situations, and graphic violence all have been hallmarks of the series and we get a refresher in this glorious return to form.

Once again, Hazel provides the narration beautifully designed by Fotografiks who's also back. Time has advanced three years and the family mix is a little different than before with Marko's unfortunate demise in the last issue. The grief and mourning of that have seemed to have been absorbed over the years but the themes of survival and family cohesion are as vital as ever. The struggle to provide for her family drives Alana by any means necessary in a world at war where danger still lurks behind every corner. Life is as perilous as ever but even as precocious and as cunning as the older Hazel is now, she still can find momentary joy. The stakes are still high so we continue to ride with them. 

Staples brings back the colorful and expressive world of 'Saga' with such ease and expertise. The impact that she's brought to storytelling in a restrained way where less is more and a panel can convey more than an entire act. She can make the mute offspring of Prince Robot, Squire, emote heartbreakingly through his monitor head. It's quite the feat. 

Vaughan and Staples are back on top of their game in another thrilling, shocking, heartfelt, and all-consuming issue of 'Saga.' This extended issue reminds everyone why fans were clamoring for its return. There is a level of storytelling that is unmatched and irresistible, a space opera unlike any other, that blends a myriad of emotions in every issue and keeps you asking for more. 'Saga' is back.