Review – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #4 (of 6) (Dark Horse Comics)

23611Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Zack Whedon
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Release Date: 30th April 2014

What is there to say that hasn’t been said? If you’re a Firefly fan, this should be on your pull list already – the series as a whole is a wonderful continuation of the characters you know and love. It just feels right, and that fact alone is a hell of a lot more than certain other TV-show-to-comic adaptations can make claim to (we’re looking at you, 24).

This issue sees what we can only assume is the end of the second act come to pass. His forces gathered – including the Operative, whose presence is strangely glossed over – Mal just has a few finishing touches to apply to his plan to rescue Zoe from the Alliance prison, with a little help from the Resistance, and maybe even the Alliance themselves. On the inside, Zoe gets acquainted with just how hopeless her situation is. With her fists.

Jeanty’s art doesn’t fluctuate from the functional form it settled in to in the previous issue, though with new characters being introduced, it does feel a little like an improvement, as he’s not having to recreate recognisable faces.

To look at it from a more critical angle – and I’m told that I must, with threatening eyes and brandished dictionaries open at ‘critic’, so I won’t argue! – it’s still almost completely inaccessible, and inappreciable as a non-fan. If you’re familiar with the film or series, following the actually quite convoluted plot is a breeze, but anyone who doesn’t know these characters and their backstories will continue to be left out in the cold.

There’re also issues with the execution of said convoluted plot – one particular turn lacks anything resembling exposition. Whilst it was suggested as an option in the previous issue, here it suddenly becomes the status quo with no deliberation. Then there’s the glossing over of the Operative being aboard Serenity mentioned previously.

Both of these would are odd decisions at the best of times, despite there being a dozen ways that the characters could’ve come to make them that would’ve made sense. It feels like they just skipped over explaining it to save space, relying on fans to connect all the dots themselves. It’s a possible sign of the story breaking under the burden of expectation – there’s so much to cover, and who knows when they might get to cover it? The result is this issue feeling a little crammed-in, which is bordering on disappointing.

It doesn’t manage to completely derail the plot – as said, if you know these characters, it’s easy to fill in the blanks – and the series as a whole remains a fascinating and exciting one, still nailing the little idiosyncrasies that made Firefly feel like Firefly, page after page. It remains to be seen quite how essential the series will end up being, and this is perhaps the final bit of groundwork before what promises to be an explosive finale. In a weird, meta-fictional way, the series has already critiqued itself with a scrap of dialogue from issue #3:

”I’m sure you met smarter, but I know you never met no-one can shoot like me. That ain’t nothing.”

Make of that what you will.

Rating: 5/5 for Browncoats, 3/5 for the rest of yous.

The writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24

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