It's been a few months since fans have gotten to read about the adventures of this very dynamic family, and the story has jumped ahead a few years. Alana, Marko, Hazel, Izabel, and Klara are all hiding out on Gardenia, where Hazel is a toddler, and everyone is laying real low, except for Alana who has become a stage actor.
Here's where this book truly shines. This is issue 19 and writer Brian K Vaughan pretty much hit the reset button on the book by thrusting it into the future a few years and moving the characters to a brand new location. Doing this makes this book pretty accessible to new readers and makes this book feel really fresh and new for those who have been reading since day one.
This issue is pretty much 20 pages of set-up, which is fine, in one aspect. If you're expecting the more dynamic storytelling BKV and artist Fiona Staples have been doing in this book, since issue one, you're not going to like the issue, since this story is really building towards something else within the family. The new direction, as long as that final page is any indication of where this arc is going, is interesting. It's different, but it works for the characters and feels organic.
Fiona Staples does what she does best: Tells a beautiful story, through art, filled with emotion and suspense. And there is a lot of emotion towards the end of this issue and Staples does a great job at putting that into the character's faces. The reader will feel what Alana and Marko feel. Staples continues to makes this book eye candy. Every page is utterly brilliant.
The book jumps a few years into the future and it's left up to the reader to piece most of the puzzle together, which is fine because readers don't really need everything spelled out for them, but because the science fiction elements in this series can be a little unfamiliar, this issue has so many new concepts and elements and it can be a bit much to take in. Basically, what you're getting in this issue is a ton of set-up. It feels like reading the first issue to a new series.
There's no real connection between what's happening between Alana, Marko, and company, and the Robot Kingdom. It may be true the reader doesn't need a strong connection, but the opening doesn't bookend the issue nor does the opening lead into anything else.
SAGA returns, but it isn't with a bang because the direction of the book is a complete 180. The book has slowed down and very clearly focused on family and the family dynamic; however, when you look back at previous arcs, that's what this book has always been about. This is a great place for new readers to jump on, but the problem lies within the new concepts and elements being dumped on the reader. It's a lot to take in and BKV expects readers to understand everything. However, SAGA is still a brilliant book and a series more people should be reading.