The crew of the Serenity has to move fast if they hope to save Zoe who set out to save Mal. It’s a rescue of a rescue. That’s easier said than done when bandits are hot on their trail. What if there’s a solution to this problem that doesn’t involve violence? That is a completely unfamiliar tactic to this group, but they’re willing to give it a try.
While Mal and Zoe’s story is still central to Firefly, the rest of the crew gets some time to shine in this issue. Everyone is a main character in this crew. There are no supporting roles. They work together as a family, albeit a very dysfunctional one. Without Mal and Zoe, they are without leadership, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t get things done. They’re not entirely used to this idea, however they flourish in this position, quickly brainstorming ideas and strategy before enacting their plan.
Since they are a family, there’s a drive to get everyone together again. This is even stronger in Wash since his wife, Zoe is heading out into space and he can’t do anything to help her. He knows full well that she can take care of herself. That’s not the danger. There’s a sense of betrayal in this as Zoe went off to save Mal because of the connection they had during the war. It is completely different than her relationship with Wash, but at this moment, it’s outranking her marriage.
Artist Dan McDaid gets to the root of this emotion with Wash. You can see the terrified desperation on his face as he pushes the ship past its breaking point in a feeble effort to catch up to his wife. He’s trying every trick he can to get the ship to move faster but it’s just not happening. He starts to break down as Zoe gets farther and farther away. Wash starts out as brash and angry and as the scene goes on, shrinks and crumbles in on himself.
Letterer Jim Campbell captures this range well with Wash’s dialogue. His words are bigger and bolder at first before turning a pale grey as he mutters to himself. This is when the reality of the situation sinks in and it carries such weight.
The scheme put in place by the crew of the Serenity is smart and surprisingly non-violent. Writer Greg Pak paces these sequences like a great thriller, moving all the pieces into position. We don’t know the full extent of the plan, but there’s more than enough here to keep you glued to the page wondering how this will all play out. Of course, nothing ever goes exactly as planned and these folks have pretty horrible luck so it’s only a matter of time before everything goes horribly wrong.
When the focus jumps to Zoe, we see how she’s treated by the loyal Browncoats. They heard that one of their own was in trouble and rallied to the cause. Until this comic came out, we’ve only heard bits and pieces about the Unification War and how it affected the ‘verse. Here we see some soldiers and their family and how deep this conflict goes. They will put anything on the line if it means standing up to the Alliance.
Although Firefly is set in the far reaches of space, there’s a grit to it. It really is a space western. Colorist Marcelo Costa gives these planets and ships a lived-in feel. It’s the same kind of tone you get from Star Wars, like a 1970’s version of the future. This extends to every aspect of the ‘verse, even the wealthier areas.
It is interesting to see how this plan is in conflict with Zoe’s ideas. The two are going to clash soon and we’ll get a debate as to which path is right. This is part of what makes Firefly such a compelling series. There is justification on both sides of this, yet the characters are forced to make a tough decision.