Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Book Review: Saga - Volume 2

book cover for Saga volume 2So if you haven't read volume 1, this review could be a bit spoiler-ish.

Volume 1 leaves off with Marko's parents teleporting in under the assumption that he'd been captured. Volume 2 starts off with Marko introducing his parents to Alana and Hazel. Marko sets off to find the babysitter, whom Mom has banished to a nearby planetoid. Mom, thinking that Marko is incapable of not screwing up, follows him, thus leaving Dad alone with Alana and Hazel. Vaughn then explores the relationship dynamics between the two generations.

Marko's mom is full of piss and vinegar; Marko's dad is the softie. Mom harps on every mistake Marko has ever made. Dad wants to see baby Hazel and make sure she's "normal." He means healthy, but it comes across awkward. Gender stereotypes flipped! I enjoyed how Vaughn handled the conflict resolutions on both sides.

Meanwhile, we're introduced to Gwendolyn, Marko's ex-girlfriend. She's come by The Will's place to check on his progress in hunting down our protagonists. She's annoyed that he's moping over the death of his former lover. In return, he psychoanalyzes Gwendolyn's motives—with the help of Lying Cat—and reveals another dilemma plaguing his conscience. Gwendolyn offers to help with it if he promises to get off his ass and back on the trail. Gwendolyn turns out to have some traits in common with Marko's mom.

We're also treated to flashbacks to when Marko and Alana first met, the book that inspired both of them, and their daring escape from Marko's prison.

The art continues to be fantastic. I thought that Staples' depiction of the planetoid landscape, the way the star's light cast shadows through the ruins, was rendered especially well. And the scenes inside the rocketship-tree were a great mix of earth tones that were vibrant instead of dull. A warning to those who have sensitive eyes: There's a giant naked troll that leaves little to the imagination and, when Prince Robot IV lies unconscious on a battlefield, gay porn plays on his TV monitor for two panels.

Two other scenes deserve mentioning. One is a flashback to when Marko was a kid learning how to ride a giant cricket with his father offering encouragement. The dialogue is in Marko's native tongue and offered without translation, but the artwork explains it all. The other is something Marko's dad says: "Your first grandchild is nature's reminder that your warranty's about to run out."


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