Saga, vol. 2

Saga 2Summary: The smash-hit ongoing epic continues! Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and alien monstrosities, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters something truly frightening: her grandparents! Named one of Time Magazine’s top 10 graphic novels for 2013.

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Saga, vol. 2, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples 7.75

This second collection of ‘Saga’ continues pretty much where the last one left off, with our two protagonists on the lam with their newborn daughter – and, unexpectedly, Marko’s parents (who had sought them out to try to help them). They get paired up, as Marko and his mom try to find Izabel, and Alana and his dad stay behind.

Naturally, there is conflict between them.

They continue to be pursued separately by Prince Robot IV and The Will, but both of them have different motivations and enthusiasm for their respective quests; they each have their own concerns, distracting them from their short-term goal: Prince Robot is about to be a father, and The Will is trying to rescue a young sex slave.

The book failed to sustain my awe this time around: characters that seemed transient reappeared and cemented their place in Vaughan’s grand scheme. ‘Saga’ is starting to suffer from an overabundance of characters and plot points, even though it managed to remain somewhat unconvoluted.

And yet there’s not much going on in this adventure. Being character-driven, all of the action comes from the soap opera-like interpersonal developments. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I find myself bored with the current story. I almost wish that its characters and the readers had new things to explore.

Having said this, I like the way that Vaughan bridges all these stories; it’s quite adept and pretty much flawless. Also, each book in this volume begins with a 4-5 page flashback sequence that provides us with back history on the characters – not just our protagonists, but also the antagonists.

I like that the story is frequently narrated by their (presumably full-grown) daughter. it’s a nice touch. I also like that there are familiar aspects to this universe, such as weapons or gadgets, which echo familiar (but archaic) ones such as Tommy guns, or gadgets such as video tapes and diskettes.

I’ve read many accounts of people saying that it was very reminiscent of ‘Star Wars’ but I don’t see it – aside for this predilection for using familiar items and repurposing them for the comic. Otherwise, the characters are a bit more complex here, with motivations that are deeply rooted in immediate family or love interests.

There isn’t the epic good vs evil trope here, as all characters are correct from their own world views. It’s a much more complex perspective. In that sense, ‘Saga’ is not really directed at kids and much more so towards mature audiences (as made quite obvious by the mild sexual content and nudity).

I’m enjoying ‘Saga’, but my enthusiasm has mellowed out a bit. I’m very curious to see where the next one will take us, but I’m not sure how long I’ll keep reading if it continues down this path. If it becomes a space soap opera, you can count me out. If it’s more complex than this, I’m in.

All the way.

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