Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Format: electronic ARC (via NetGalley)
Let me start off by saying that in my review of Volume one, I called Saga my favorite comic on the market. I’m a binge reader when it comes to comics (as I am with television) and I almost always wait for them to come out in a collection before catching up. So here I am, with the pleasure of being able to read and review volume two.
I had forgotten why I loved Saga so much and the answer is really quite simple: it’s contagious. Once again, I couldn’t put the volume down, reading from cover-to-cover in one sitting.
Marko and Halana are Montague and Capulet in an interplanetary war. Marko is a ram-horned humanoid with magical powers and his winged bride is from a more technologically advanced society. Because of their forbidden love, both races have sent hitmen after them as they make their escape through space.
But to tell you the plot, is really to miss the point in what makes Saga so special. First of all, the banter between Marko and Halana hits all of the right beats. She’s cynical and independent, but unabashed in expressing her love for Marko. And her husband’s no slouch either. He’s courageous and devoted to his bride, firmly defending her to his mother when she is not even present. But together they bicker in a way that many of us can relate to.
Besides the characters, Saga is also a delight to read because of its inventiveness. There’s a hitman (“The Will”) with his often troublesome lie-detecting cat (“Lying Cat”) and a teenage ghost (Izabel) acts as the child’s babysitter. When Marko goes to a planet to save Izabel, the planet itself is not what it seems.
Unlike the innocence of many space operas, Saga is raw and revealing. Vaughn’s ogres don’t wear fig leafs, leaving nothing to the imagination and his arachnid siren killer doesn’t bother to fasten a bra. The art of these otherworldly creatures is fun and a perfect complement to the writing. The story is honest and intimate, but most of all, Saga is a joy to read. The second volume held up equally to the first and I would love to see it take the Hugo Award this year.