One thing there's no shortage of in Saga: creativity. Also, danger (obviously). But I wanted to lull you in with that bit about creativity. There's crap-tons of danger. But as we enter chapter two, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples break out a solid cask of what-the-f*ckery. Join me, won't you? (Spoilers below.)
The Will— badass bounty hunter extraordinaire— is in hot pursuit of Alana, Marko, and baby Hazel. His agent, an anthropomorphic seahorse, breaks some bad news as gently as he can: the clients (some pissed off Robot Royals) didn't choose just any competition to keep The Will on his toes. They chose his ex, The Stalk.
Alana and Marko are having a hell of a time: they haven't slept nor eaten in three days, and they're largely trapped in a jungle that is actively trying to kill them. (Remember, this is only chapter two.)
We get our first glimpse of how Marko's magic works. Spells require ingredients. In this case, to cut themselves free, they need an actual secret. Alana complies, and our heroes take their first break in 72 hours. They're all asleep in moments.
Prince Robot IV arrives on Cleave to expedite the hunt; his primary (and perhaps only) motivation is to finish the job so he can go back home. His PTSD manifests in literal flashes across his face/screen, and it's not pretty. He shakes it off and continues with the task at hand. We get our first clues as to how Alana and Marko met, and more importantly, the book that brought them together.
The clue is all we get, before we return to the hunt in progress. Baby Hazel's cries wake the parents, who pick up on the fact that they're not alone, anymore. Enter The Stalk.
Now, this comic is not for young eyes. That's fair warning. I wish I could have seen the look on Fiona Staples' face when she was first asked to render The Stalk: a statuesque, topless, ivory-skinned blonde with no arms, and the body of a massive spider from the waist down. I can't imagine her grooming needs, but when you've got Lady Godiva locks and no arms, why bother?
Marko tries the pacifist route to no avail. He gets a stinger through the lung for his trouble.
Fiona Staples' work here is deceptively good. Her lines are solid, her shading is elegant in its simplicity. Between dragon trains, seahorse agents, and arachnid femmes fatale, I really can't get enough of her work. There's no wasted space, here. Quite frankly, it's gorgeous.
Equally beautiful is Alana's drive to protect her own. To wit, she'd rather kill Hazel herself, than see her taken away to a fate worse than death.
It's worth pointing out that the villains under Brian K. Vaughan's pen are extremely likable. They'll stab your husband in the chest one minute, then (kind of) apologize about it in the next.
The ladies are at a standstill until something scarier than The Stalk arrives: the Horrors. Having seen what the Horrors can do first hand-hand-hand-hand, The Stalk opts to bug out and come back later to pick over the leftovers... if there are any.
Enter a sextet of glowing, blood-red apparitions, all corpsified and gross. I can't make this stuff up. Well, I don't have to! Vaughan and Staples did already.
If you're not reading Saga, you need to go read Saga. The only reason for these reviews is to entice you. Hopefully, they're doing that. Tune in next time for more terrifying, hilarious, awe-inspiring (and maybe disturbingly arousing) action with Saga #3!