The Saga Re-Read: Saga #2, People Like This Book

Saga #2 introduces us to one of Fiona Staples many excellent alien designs: The Stalk.

By Zack Quaintance & Cory Webber — We went live with our Saga re-read project last week (in which we’re reading one issue of Saga every week during the book’s hiatus), and, lo and behold, it turns out that people really like Saga! And I mean, like like. Not a shocker; this is a popular comic (to no one’s surprise).

Anyway, our hope from the start was that many people out there would come along with myself (a re-reader of Saga) and Cory Webber (a first-timer), as we embarked on this project, using some space here on Friday’s for a brief discussion and our thoughts about a single issue. It turns out our hopes seem likely to be validated! So that’s cool. We even have a great take that came to us from a friend via Twitter…

Andres Garcia says

That Tarantino observation is a really great addition, given some of the ways the book approaches sex and violence (and even the revenge and family dynamics). The only thing we’d add is that if you’re going to discuss how Saga translates to the world of family, you would do well to also reference Guillermo del Toro, because Fiona Staples’ monster designs are that good.

Read our take on Saga #1.

Saga #2

The cover of Saga #2, which is way scarier after you read it.

Here’s the official preview text for Saga #2:

The ongoing epic continues!  After deserting their galactic armies, former soldiers Marko and Alana must now protect their newborn girl from the lethal killers dispatched to destroy their family.

That’s a pretty vague description, but it does get at what this issue is about: our young family is being hunted by increasingly dangerous threats. We get our first glimpse of The Stalk here, which kind of backs up what I was saying earlier about the Guillermo del Toro aesthetic. Also, at the issues very end, we get our first look at the much-feared Horrors. More on them next issue, though.

Ultimately, this is a nice follow-up to the first issue. I can’t see anyone who liked the debut jumping off after #2. It continues to introduce us to the nature of our heroes, while throwing more obstacles into their way so that we can later see how they respond, and, therefore, what they’re made of. It also gives us more of Staples’ incredible character designs. As mentioned, this time it’s The Stalk, whose design mixes ethereal beauty with body horror grotesquery. Really impressive stuff.

A Re-Reader’s Perspective by Zack: The Star Wars qualities that one assumes were vital to the book’s pitch and its early marketing are evident here: the fun space monsters, the glimpses at the realities of the freelancer market, and even a rare look at one of the military bases the war is being waged from. I suppose this stands out to me on re-read, because by #54 the book has so many of its own unique qualities that Star Wars couldn’t be further from my mind. Basically, Saga is its own massive thing now, but back then, you can see that it was still taking form.

A New Reader’s Perspective by Cory Webber: This is only the second issue, but it feels like Vaughn and Staples have been doing this for much longer. I like the comparison to Star Wars and Romeo + Juliet by Tarantino and Del Toro, but allow me to add that I’m getting a Coen Brothers vibe too, what with the eccentric characters and hilarious-yet-mundane sense of humor. For example, Alana’s secret that she likes the taste of her own breast milk, or how the prison guard tells Prince Robot IV about the harlequin-type books Alana was reading. I found it interesting that she refers to them as books housewives buy at the supermarket. It gave me the notion that this very well could be another solar system in our galaxy, not too different from our own. Something, I assume, was intentional in order to make us feel that Vaughan has something socially-relevant to discuss. I already gushed about Vaughn and Staples, so let me just take a second to praise Fonografiks’ lettering and design. I particularly like the font and placement of Hazel’s narrations. Last but not least, WHAT THE HELL IS THE STALK AND WHY IS IT AFRAID OF THE HORRORS?!

Cory’s New Reader Prediction: My prediction is last week’s prediction was either A). correct and I should stop while I’m ahead or, B). there’s NO WAY Marko is dead and The Horrors are actually decent folks that help non-warring types, and they will resuscitate him because there’s NO WAY Vaughan is that heartless <rant over>. 

Thanks for joining us, and be sure to check back next Friday for a discussion of Saga #3! Tweet us @BatmansBookcase with your own thoughts, and we may run them here next week...

Cory Webber is a work-from-home entrepreneur who also reads and reviews comics for fun. Find him on Twitter at @CeeEssWebber. He lives in Lehi, Utah with his wife and three sons.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

The great character development continues throughout this issue.