Saturday, March 1, 2014

Serenity: Leaves On The Wind #2 - A Review

Considering how involved Firefly was as a series, Serenity: Leaves On The Wind #2 is surprisingly easy to get into.  While some familiarity with the series Firefly and the events of the movie Serenity are necessary, your average Browncoat could jump in on this issue without having to worry about having missed the first part.  The events of the previous issue is explained easily enough in both the action of this issue and a blurb on the title page.

As this chapter opens, Captain Malcolm Reynolds is a doubly wanted man.  The Alliance wants him for his role in exposing the truth about their crimes on the planet Miranda and a burgeoning rebellion wants him to be their fearless leader.  The latter group has tracked down Jayne Cobb - a mercenary who used to serve on Reynolds' ship - and hired him to lead the way to their would-be leader, little knowing that an old enemy of the Serenity crew is on the trail as well.

Mal, as usual, has bigger concerns than playing "the big damn hero".  First Mate Zoe has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl and while newborn Emma is doing fine, her mother is bleeding out slow in a way that ship's doctor Simon can't fix.  This means a trip to someplace civilized to get Zoe healed and that means risks the fugitive crew shouldn't be taking but can't help avoiding.

Zack Whedon does a fine job capturing the essence of his brother's characters.  This comic reads just like an episode of Firefly or a scene from the long dreamed of Serenity sequel.  The only real problem with the script is that much of the ensemble cast is given little to do and there's too few of the character moments that made the show so memorable.  Kaylee and Inara suffer the worst here - perhaps because so much of their personal drama was built around "will they?/won't they?" relationships that have now been resolved.

A larger problem lies in the artwork.  Penciler Georges Jeanty does some good caricatures of the established cast but their looks from panel to panel can differ greatly.  Another oddity is Karl Story's inks, which are layered-on heavily in the close-ups on various characters yet oddly sparse in medium and long range shots.  Thankfully, none of the artwork is glaringly bad enough to distract away from the story - just odd without being off-putting.


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