For this round of our mini reviews, we thought we would focus on #1s of a sort. Mystery Woman and Huck are both brand new series, but obviously Saga is one that has been with us for quiet some time. Issue #31 is the restart of the book after a short break, where artist Fiona Staples went to draw the first three issues of the Archie relaunch, and it takes place some time after the last, so we thought of it as a bit of a “new beginning.”
We also decided to forgo classic superhero books from the Big Two, even though we are amid stacks of #1s from Marvel. The comics world is a bit overrun with these tried and true heroes at this point, so it is time to highlight some of the other work recently released.
Saga #31 (Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Image Comics)
Saga is now back and we are launched forward into the future where we see Hazel entering Kindergarten at a detainee center. We get a bit of background that links us with the high-intensity confrontations of Saga #30, which required their slight lying to avoid being taken as violent criminals. Now we see life in this future as Hazel is coming into her own, having trouble relating to her classmates, and becoming the star of her class. What people will focus on is the revelation of a transgender character, which is handled wonderfully and is an incredible development. This was one of the best issues in recent memory, a great step for one of the most groundbreaking comics available right now. We still have a lot to see about Hazel’s family, but we see at the end that Hazel’s unique background may bring her more to the center of the book.
Mystery Girl #1 (Paul Tobin and Alberto Alburquerque, Dark Horse Comics)
Mystery Girl is a quintessentially Paul Tobin book focused on a quirky main character and her caring relationships. Our main character, Trine Hempstead, knows everything, at least once she is asked. She posts up on the sidewalk in front of her house and people pay her to answer their questions. These can be anything from where exactly is my husband who went missing in the Vietnam War, to where is a well-preserved Mammoth. It is exactly that last question that sends her on her way, which she get some resistance from the loved ones in her life. The book is passing fun, certainly not something to return to after the first time, and probably needs to be a miniseries at most. It is also additionally nice seeing an LGBT friendly plot line, but in general there is a nice warmness to this issue.
Huck #1 (Mark Millar and Rafael Alburquerque, Image Comics)
The plot through of this book is simple with a sense of caring, though we really do need to question whether we really need another book that creates a caricature of people with special needs. Once again, a character who is “simple” is blessed both with semi-superpowers and with a superhuman ability to be nice. Other than the obvious, this is a story we have seen in various forms before, but it is done uniquely well in this case. The art is beautiful all the way through, and Millar obviously can weave a story like this seamlessly, so the success of this book really depends on what comes next since the first issue is more of a golden set-up than anything else.