Per my review of the Volume 1 trade paperback, this volume had to make up for a couple glaring sins. As in, I wanted real characters with moderately nuanced plotlines. Volume 2 delivers. Not in spades, and not even graciously, but delivers nonetheless. Mostly because Warren Ellis didn't write the second storyline collected here. That didactic bastard was replaced with another didactic bastard who delights in writing commentary on Marvel Comics characters. Which feels like the autoerotic navel-gazing of literary theorists discussing other literary theorists, but it works for a time.
Unfortunately, the second storyline also replaces the original penciler with Frank Quitely, who can draw no other face but Richard Nixon's.
Since the stories in the first volume destroyed all sense of scale (what can you do next when you've already saved China from being turned into an alien rape camp?), Ellis was left with no choice in his next story but to kill God. And not even in an interesting Nietzschean way. He just needed a sentient geometrical shape to blow the shit out of. I cannot fully express my disdain for Warren Ellis. He never grew out of D&D. (No way, man! My chicken-headed demon has the Seven Rings of Ventuzla! The only way you could top that is to summon a Krambonian army of lava-god lizard-spitters. Which you can't do. Bitch.)
I hope he chokes on his own faux profundity.
With Millar writing "The Nativity," the prospects look a bit brighter. There are a few moments of heartbreaking tenderness here which, though they enter clumsily and exit like a colon blow, are quite lovely for the three panels they last. And Millar at least has a sense of what's actually evocative to readers older than thirteen. I'm sorry, the potential alien rape of an entire country's worth of cartoon characters doesn't make me turn pages like a drooling maniac. (I also never owned Magick: The Gathering cards.) But the rape of Apollo, my homo hero, by a Captain Amerika look-alike? And three tender panels of his lover's reaction? Thank you for the real writing.
It's worth the purchase for "The Nativity." I apologize beforehand that you'll have to slog through Ellis' vomitus.