by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Fiona Staples
Published on July 2, 2013 by Image Comics
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
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From award-winning writer Brian K. Vaughan (Pride of Baghdad, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, Done to Death), Saga is sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and horrific monsters, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters her strangest adventure yet... grandparents.
Alright, so I ventured into the weirdness that is SAGA once more with the second volume. Although the first volume was quite the shock in terms of the strange world and characters (I mean, y’all, these people have some seriously amazing imaginations going into these graphic novels), Volume 2 focused less on the weird and more on the development of the story.
Most of Volume 2 centers around how Marko and Alana first met, as well as what happened between then and the start of the first volume. I think the story really needed this as the Vol. 1 was a complete whirlwind of events with very little down time to give the characters a chance to breathe.
And Marko’s parents show up! That was cool, seeing parenthood through the lens of his father, especially, and where Marko came from, and then with Alana and her daughter. Though there wasn’t as much action as the previous book, it came through in a few scenes and the ending was awful(ly good). It was heart-wrenching, so be prepared for that. It’s amazing the amount of emotion that can be packed into such a short book.
But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of humor like before to lighten things up, even with a more somber secret passed between two of the characters. I think that slowed the story down a bit because you could feel it playing out in the background. And overall, Vol. 2 had a slower pace due to the nature of the content. I feel it’s harder to weave in backstory in a graphic novel as it’s more visual, unless you throw in a bunch of flashbacks that would break up the flow of the story.
Not only did we get more backstory on the main characters, the antagonists had some page time too. I like that these books explore not only different characters who may or may not be on the morally “right” path, but also some tough topics. The whole premise of Alana and Marko on the run with their newborn daughter comes back to their people fighting a useless war against each other without thinking about why they’re fighting each other. Time and again, senseless war and the destruction it creates comes up and for such a depressing topic, there’s also the glimmer of hope that the new family can have a life beyond war. You can’t help but want it for them either.
As before, the illustrations are expressive and vibrant, and really do the story justice. So far, I think these are some of my favorite graphic novels I’ve read (though, to be fair, I haven’t read many. . . yet).
Though unusual in content, I would definitely recommend Saga to fantasy and sci-fi lovers alike. These are definitely adult reads so be warned in terms of some of the content but if that’s no concern then go check out Volume 1!