After last month’s incredible opening issue, Zack Whedon continues the tale of Serenity’s crew on the run from the Alliance. As usual with this group of characters, their circumstances have gone from bad to much, much worse. Is it good?
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
If you’re reading this review, I’m going to assume that you’ve read the first issue… meaning that we can both squeal with shared delight about the fact that Jubal Early is back! After slaughtering the Alliance commanders’ security team, the assassin was apparently still invited to dinner, enjoying a pleasant meal with the two officers while discussing how he will catch Serenity’s crew (and why he was thwarted by them before).
Back on board Serenity, Mal makes the decision to get Zoe to a proper medical facility. Once he arrives and gets his #2 the treatment she needs, the Alliance are predictably alerted to his presence. Zoe, on the other hand, makes the very unpredictable decision to have Mal leave her at the mercy of the authorities while the captain takes her daughter back onboard the ship; the last thing she wants is her child being detained/obtained by the Alliance. It’s a decision that takes far more courage from a brand new mother than any firefight or space battle she’d ever been in before.
Later, while Mal is beating himself up over leaving Zoe behind on the field of battle, River walks in to remind everybody that she’s still got plenty of government goodies tucked away inside her head… which might possibly include top secret information they could use to barter for Zoe’s freedom. After some (understandable) resistance from Simon, he puts his sister into a medically induced coma, allowing her to fully explore the giant ball of crazy between her ears for anything useful.
Meanwhile, Jayne continues to help Beau and her band of revivalist Browncoats track down Mal Reynolds. After being asked why he wasn’t with his old crew anymore, he alludes to some friction between him and the captain (what else is new?) as the reason. Jayne also may have found the perfect woman for him to finally settle down with: Beau is beautiful, feisty, and absolutely refuses to put up with any of his crap.
Jayne is eventually able to locate Serenity (leading to a frosty reunion between him and the captain). The former crew member, along with Beau, are allowed on board the ship to state their business. She then proceeds to ask Mal if he’s interested in heading up another revolution. Anyone who knows anything about Captain Reynolds could have guessed his answer.
Before Beau can sulk back to her ship, however, it is blown to bits. Unbeknownst to everyone else, Beau’s crew was slaughtered before the sabotage even took place by a certain red-suited assassin. That night, as the crew of Serenity (along with a stranded Jayne and Beau) sleep, Jubal early sneaks in to have a reunion with the comatose girl who managed to defeat him before.
Is It Good?
While the last issue may have arguably benefited from the “HOLY CRAP NEW FIREFLY UNIVERSE STUFF!” factor, this one provided plenty of reassurance that we’re in for a fantastic new story, as well. On equal footing with the excellent plot are the characters themselves. Zack Whedon’s dialogue for Captain Mal Reynolds is so spot on that I can actually hear it being said in Nathan Fillion’s voice (which despite being a heterosexual male, causes me to feel strangely giddy).
Georges Jeanty’s artwork is one again out of this world. The only real misstep in the issue was the exchange between Jayne and Mal. While it felt exactly like every other conversation the characters have ever had, the repercussions of it were inexplicably much greater. That’s the only part of this installment in the story, however, that felt at all derivative. The issue perfectly balances the characters’ established voices while pushing them into new (and terrifying) territories.
In other words, it does exactly what the television show used to do so incredibly well.