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Here I Am, Sitting In A Tin Can

Against her better judgement, Alix agrees to go on a second date with Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga. It goes surprisingly well.

Here I Am, Sitting In A Tin Can

BOOK REPORT for Saga, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Cover Story: Appropriate Harbinger of What Lies Within
BFF Charm: Whatever I Said Last Time, Yay! and Maybe
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Action Packed, but Punctuated by Poetic Prose
Arty Art: Graphic
Bonus Factor: Flashbacks
Relationship Status: Going Steady

Cover Story: Appropriate Harbinger of What Lies Within

Gather round, children! It’s time for Aunt Alix to tell you a story. Yesterday morning, I sat down at my desk with a nice bowl yogurt, honey and berries, because I try to eat like the lower middle class to which I aspire. And then I cracked open my comic book reader and nearly choked on a raspberry. I immediately closed my comic book reader and decided to catch up on email instead, which is for the best, because this is not a book you want to read while eating. It’s also not a book you want to read before you go to bed (which I did later), because you will have really fucked up dreams. Basically, you should take that blood-soaked cover as a warning and only read this mid-afternoon, with the windows open, on an empty stomach, because it only goes downhill from here. Three words: alien troll testicles.

The Deal:

Following the events of Vol. 1, interspecies newlyweds Marko and Alana have just escaped almost certain death by stealing a rocketship made of tree, only to be promptly joined by Marko’s bigoted, trigger-happy parents. While they’re busy playing Dysfunctional Family Sitcom, Marko’s bitter ex, Gwendolyn, teams up with The Will, a bounty hunter who has been hired to find Marko and Alana. Like Prince Robot IV, Gwendolyn and The Will are all in pursuit of Baby Hazel, Alana and Marko’s child, and the only offspring ever produced between their two warring species. And if any of that sounded insane, then you clearly have not read Vol. 1, because this is just the tip of the crazy iceberg.

BFF Charm: Whatever I Said Last Time, Yay! and Maybe

Whatever I said about Marko, Alana, and Izabel last time, I trust Past Alix’s judgement. Let’s talk about new characters! Namely, Marko’s parents.

Marko’s dad, Barr, won me over pretty quickly. Even though he’s spent his whole life as a warmongering bigot, it takes about three seconds on board with his granddaughter for him to warm up to Alana, whom he’s supposed to hate on sight. And then he starts sewing her new outfits! Best father-in-law ever!

I’m less sure of Marko’s mom. She’s super racist and violent, which now makes me sound terrible for even considering the BFF charm possibility. But she clearly loves her son and her husband, and betting she will come around eventually.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

We learn more about the origins Alana and Marko’s relationship through flashbacks. They’ve got that star-crossed lovers thing going for them, but there’s just too much other shit going on for me to get very invested in their romance. I suspect the story will get more swoony as it continues, since it’s more about two people making a marriage and a family work against all odds, rather than the initial meet-cute and ensuing flirtation. Then again, Brian K. Vaughan has a PhD in Horrible from the Joss Whedon School of Plot Development, so more likely, all my favorite characters will die painful deaths and everything will be awful.

Talky Talk: Action Packed, but Punctuated by Prosetastic Narration

Like most BKV stories, reading Saga feels like running a marathon. The action is incessant, each issue ends on a cliffhanger, and there’s barely ever time to catch your breath.

What I really like about Saga, though, is that it’s narrated by Future Hazel. Hazel’s voice is always very straightforward and to the point, but its juxtaposition with all the action makes the narration beautiful in its simplicity.

Arty Art: Graphic

Do you see that DNRIP tag? I am very emphatic about that tag. If you were planning on, say, reading this in your friends’ flat, think again. Even if you try to hide the contents by positioning yourself in the corner so that no one can see your screen, you know what everyone in the room can still see? Your horrified facial expressions. They can also hear the involuntary sounds of your audible disgust. And eventually somebody is going to lean over and see the giant, lopsided, alien troll testicles all over your screen, and HOW ARE YOU GOING TO EXPLAIN THAT ONE AWAY?

Still, this was extremely tame compared to Vol. 1.

Bonus Factor: Flashbacks

Flashbacks are one of my favorite story-telling conventions. Why be linear when you can just dole out tiny nuggets of relevant backstory, little by little? Flashbacks do most of the heavy lifting in Vol. 2, giving us more insight into not only Marko and Alana’s pasts, but also the history of the war that plagues their worlds.

Casting Call:

I’m sticking with my choices from last time, so let’s cast some villains antiheroes instead!

Danai Gurira as Gwendolyn

Jason Statham as The Will

Crookshanks as Lying Cat

Relationship Status: Going Steady

On our first date, this book scared the shit out of me. Like, it was really, really fucked up. It remains fucked, but I was more prepared for its crazy this time and could better appreciate its nuances and eccentricities. I’m still not convinced this relationship is going to end well for me, but I’m willing to give us a shot.

Alix West's photo About the Author: Alix is a writer and illustrator who spends way too much time reading Jane Austen retellings of varying quality.
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