Star-crossed lovers Alana and Marko, with their interspecies child, made a huge splash in Volume 1 last year. In Volume 2, we learn enough about the freelancers hired to kill them that we want to root for both these assassins as well as their intended prey. We ache for The Will—a stoic bounty hunter—because of his doomed love for The Stalk—a very strange topless crab-woman now dead—and because he wants to free a child prostitute from bondage. And we begin to understand why Prince Robot IV has problems with his wife and may not have much interest in war despite his protestations against pacifism. This is suggested by two small explicit gay-sex images shown in the Prince's monitor-face during a raging battle, giving us a nongratuitous clue about what was really on his semiconscious mind while being hit by Wreathean fire. As for our nuclear-family fugitives, we learn how they met and what happens when Marko's don't-mess-with-us parents track them down. VERDICT Hyping character development and emotional action on par with the narrative action, creators Vaughan and Staples maintain appeal and excellence in this adult series.—M.C.