Saga: Volume 2
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Fiona Staples
Published by Image
4 Out of 5 Stars
In the first 6 issues of Saga (which comprised volume 1 of the trade edition), Brian K. Vaughan threw in enough weird ass shit to keep me in a delightfully perpetual state of "what the hell was that?" So much so that I worried the inventiveness might eventually wear thin, begin to feel as though it's trying too hard (as I sometimes feel with China Mieville's Dial H), or simply create such a labyrinthine mythology that it's just not worth trying to puzzle it all out. The second 6 issues have definitely allayed those fears as they are as outrageous and genuine as the first story arc, losing none of the batshit craziness or heart.
Hazel, the newborn daughter of Marko and Alana, continues to narrate the story of her parents from an unknown point in the future. Marko and Alana, both soldiers from two warring alien races, have a romance that reads like Romeo and Juliet on crack. On the run as fugitives from their respective races, they continue to search the universe for a safe place to live, love, and raise Hazel. But, alas, bounty hunters continue to plague them and, worst of all, the sudden appearance of ex-flames (an enraged Gwendolyn, Marko's one time fiancée) and in-laws (Marko's parents seek out their wayward child at the worst possible of times, complicating his escape with Alana).
This arc provides background on several significant characters, including how Marko and Alana met, as well as the history of the relationship between The Will and The Stalk, the star-crossed (and bad ass) bounty hunters hot on their trail. For those uninitiated to Brian Vaughan's work, however, be forewarned: there will be sex scenes, giants with pendulous scrotums, and enough deviant behavior to make Sodom and Gomorrah blush with shame. However, I also appreciate the maturity with which the relationships are portrayed--they're real without being romanticized. Saga works beautifully because of this and because of the huge debt the series owes to illustrator Fiona Staples. The work of any other artist could have made Vaughan's ideas too cartoonish, too over-the-top, but Staples's work is the right mesh of quirky and realistic that roots this world in an organic quality that gives it weight and authenticity.
In short, I can't praise Saga highly enough. It's a testament to what comics can achieve when writers and artists are let off the leashes of pre-conceived, "safe" concepts and allowed to chase after their most vivid, fevered imaginings.