The Stalking: A Saga

Review by Shaun Daniels and Edited by Sharon Wong

Saga Issue 2

Written by Brian K. Vaughan, Art by Fiona Staples, Letters & Design by Fonografiks, Coordinated by Eric Stephenson and Published by Image Comics. Retail Price $2.99

Saga is thus far living up to the hype that has surrounded it since the series’ announcement at San Diego Comic Con 2011.  It is a long overdue return for Brian K. Vaughan, who couldn’t have picked a better collaborator than in Fiona Staples.  In this issue, we see more of star-crossed Marko and Alana on their journey to the Forest of Spaceships as they try to escape the war-torn, hellhole planet Wreath.  Saga is a mishmash epic tale blending fantasy and sci-fi that will surely be at the top of everyone’s “Best of” list for 2012.

If it wasn’t bad enough that the respective armies of Marko and Alana are out to get them, now the planet they’re on is trying to kill them.  The lovers, including their daughter Hazel, are at the mercy of a giant plant and are being pursued by more than one freelancer (bounty hunter).  A freelancer, known as the Stalk, strikes fear in the hearts of the other freelancers on the case.  Staple’s designs of the Stalk are very off-putting;  it has a woman’s torso but with no arms, eyes of a spider on a human head and a lower half to match the spider motif.  After a standoff with Alana, the freelancer is scared off by the Horrors, creatures of terrifying reputation but rarely ever seen.  Hopefully, that will not be the last we see of The Stalk, a character whose reputation shouldn’t be so easily thwarted.  Meanwhile, the robot prince has made landfall on the Wreath and is another in a long line of people on the hunt for the family.  The Horrors make their debut at the end of the book and are horrific but not just in the manner one might imagine.

Vaughan is fleshing out the peripheral characters with the freelancers in a great scene between the Office and the first of the freelancers.  The Office coordinates the hiring of freelancers, a temp agency if you will.  The conversation, the type one might have at their workplace at least in tone and manner, informs the freelancer that the Stalk has also been hired.  The art also captures the same feeling as the writing in this scene.  Saga is a bit of a departure for Vaughan as a writer.  Yes, it’s high concept like his previous story, but there is no major plot twist that Vaughan is known for.  This is him doing straight storytelling and he’s off to a good start.  When it comes to character design, Staples is second to none.  The aforementioned character, the Stalk, is very bizarre and creepy but Staples’ art makes the character work.  Her design of the robots in this book is equally bizarre with their television heads and human bodies.

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