Book Review: Saga (Volume 2) by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

TL;DR – Marko and Alana are on the run in search of somewhere to hide so they can raise their newborn daughter, Hazel, in peace. You would think that when you have a galaxy of planetary systems to choose from, it would be easy. But when you have two sides of a war trying to hunt you down and that war is raging across the entire galaxy, hiding turns out to be harder than expected.

Summary (warning: spoilers)

Go to my book reviews page to read reviews of previous volumes of this Eisner award winning series.

Volume two focuses on backstory between Marko and Alana; how they met, Marko’s parents and childhood, Alana’s change in perspective of the war, their eventual connection and relationship, and conception of Hazel.

This is mixed in with current events that revolve around their journey to visit author D. Oswald Heist’s home. Marko’s ex-fiancée, Gwendolyn, makes her first appearance and joins forces with The Will as they track down Marko and Alana. Along the way, The Will and Gwendolyn rescue Sophie (the young girl trapped on Sextillion in the first volume) that The Will attempted to free.

Also, hot on the scent of our fugitive couple is Prince Robot IV, who figures out that Alana and company are heading to Heist. He has read Heist’s novel that Alana believes is revolutionary. Prince Robot IV also believes that there is a hidden message within Heist’s text that talks about how love (and sex) can conquer war and thus two opposing sides can achieve peace (or at least stop from massacring each other).

Volume two ends with Prince Robot IV confronting Heist who says he wrote the novel simply for a paycheck and that there is no hidden message within. Prince Robot IV is unconvinced and sits down to wait for Alana and Marko to come to him with a gun calmly pointed at Heist. Little does the prince know that Alana and company are already there hiding in the attic.

Review

The end of volume one saw Marko, Alana and their newborn child, Hazel, blasting off in a tree-like rocket ship that appears partially sentient. Their destination is the location of D. Oswald Heist, author of Alana’s favourite novel, ‘A Night Time Smoke’. Why does Alana want to visit Heist? Because she believes his writings can unlock the never-ending war between Landfall and Wreath. In her mind, somehow Heist’s trashy romance novel equates to a message from on high.

Joining their journey are Marko’s parents, who magically appear aboard the rocket ship when Marko intentionally shatters his sword. He does this in an act of penance for breaking his vow to never unsheathe his sword and dish out violence. The sword was a family heirloom and magically bound. As soon as Marko broke it, his parents knew and homed in on his location, magically teleporting inside their ship.

Also along for the ride is Izabel, an innocent victim of the war, who is now a fluorescent pink ghost with only her upper body and entrails exposed. She convinces Alana to allow her to magically bond with Hazel in exchange for showing them how to start the rocket ship.

While volume one sets the scene, volume two delves much deeper into the impacts of the galactic war especially from an emotional and psychological stand point. At its epicentre is our daring couple, Marko and Alana, but their relationship ripples to all other parties linked to them.

Marko’s parents, his ex-fiancée, Gwendolyn, Prince Robot IV, D. Oswald Heist, and Izabel all have their own stories, views and biases regarding the war. This lends depth and gravity to the central story around Marko and Alana wanting to raise Hazel outside of the war. And shows the strength of Vaughan’s writing.

Staples artwork also seems to be fine tuned in this second volume with outrageous and eye-popping panels including a fat, naked giant that reveals too much of itself and a planet-sized egg that gives birth to an embryonic shaped creature that acts like a black hole and shoots black goo from its eyes.

With a story driven by strong characters and backed by killer art, Saga volume two draws you in and makes you think honestly about violence and the impacts of war. Oh and The Will saves his Lying Cat from dying in outer space, which was pretty damn wicked… I would’ve been bummed if the cat died.

4 out of 5.

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