SAGA Deluxe Vol.2 by Brian K. Vaughan - Book Review - Kristopher Cook

SAGA Deluxe Vol.2 by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga (Book Two) continues the war-torn journey through space as we follow Hazel’s growing up, now in her infancy. Vaughan is excellent at moving the action forward, as he does a couple of times throughout, without lingering on unnecessary details. He makes it clear that certain relationships have changed simply by how the characters interact with each other.

Catch Me If You Can

At the start of Book Two, Alana is acting in a national soap opera to stay out of harms way. Her idea is that because it’s so apparent in the public’s eye, no one will ever suspect it’s her. Vaughan uses this occupation as a way to further develop sympathy for her character. Not only is she away from her husband, but also her baby girl Hazel, who’s growing up without her mother.

As Alana falls deeper into depression, the characters surrounding her begin to change and rear ugly heads of their own. That’s when Alana takes to a new drug habit to get her through the day – because it’s showbiz, right.

Chasing them both down is a series of bounty hunters, disgruntled ex’s, and a royal family who holds them responsible for embarrassments caused on their home planets.

Illustrative Justice            

Dialogue is crisp and to the point, with the same vulgarity and expletives that make this one a hard R rating. The same goes for the illustrations, which offer their usual bloody visuals and are spliced with a touch of Lynchian imagery. It’s a great way of transporting the reader around from planet to planet without ever getting too disorientated.

Saga Book Two - Example Image - Kristopher Cook
An image from Volume Two, showing the interior of the royal palace and the introduction of a new character.

Whenever I open the cover to one of these collections, I’m immediately taken back by the incredible artwork by Fiona Staples. Not only does it offer a signature style to the series, but it similarly uplifts the entire story. She’s also unbelievable at bringing the personalities off the page, creating a truly unique visual experience.

As I mentioned when reviewing Book One, the character development in these stories is nothing short of phenomenal. I have an assortment of characters that I’m invested in and willing towards the finish line.

There’s Izabel, the ghost of a child killed by a mine back in her hometown. Or there’s The Will and Gwendolyn, who’re now on their own mission of vengeance; whilst trying to protect little Sophie (formerly slave girl).

Many of the chapters here have much more shocking revelations when compared to the previous instalment. Given that the cast has grown exponentially over the episodes, Vaughan and co aren’t afraid to suddenly axe one or two if it means pushing forward another’s character arc. None more so than with Prince Robot IV.

His character is building to be in an equally sympathetic light to Alana and Marko, by discovering his heir’s birth and subsequent kidnapping. However, unlike those mentioned above, he’ll destroy anyone, or thing, that dares to get in his way.

Deluxe or not to Deluxe

If ever there was a series that deserved a deluxe version, it’s Saga. Not just for the beautifully crafted illustrations but also for the luxury of being able to revisit it over and over.

Jen Bartel - Saga Book Two Deluxe Edition - Kristopher Cook Review
A character montage by Jen Bartel (featured in the back of the deluxe version)

There’s little to no bleed-through, and the paper feels high quality with a slight glossy sheen. The only downside is if you read it directly under an overhead light, you’ll struggle to read the smaller print.

It’s cliché, but every page tells a story in and of itself. You know instantly who’s who and where they’re at in their journey simply from their drawing. Having it in hardback adds to the personal feel of this collection, which is on par with both Uncanny X-Men and Frank Miller’s Daredevil.

Closing Thoughts

Book Two of this Saga collection is an excellent addition to any graphic novel lovers’ shelf. Building on the characters from the first, Vaughan firmly establishes a long story that doesn’t look like ending anytime soon.

The characters are diverse, which can be a rarity in today’s media, and they feel multi-faceted in their personalities.

The action is enjoyable, the dialogue is tight, and the plot is highly engaging. The only downside to this version is the lack of concept art included in the back; but I won’t hold it against them, given how great the framework is.

This deluxe edition contains 18 issues, giving plenty of bang for their buck!

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