Mal and Zoe are hunted as war criminals for their actions during the Unification War. To make matters worse, the Serenity is grounded and the Unificators are closing in. There’s a price on Mal and Zoe’s heads and it’s only a matter of time before someone, maybe even one of the crew, is going to look to cash in. Trigger fingers are getting itchy and bullets are going to fly.
I’ll never get tired of the beautiful blend of genres that Firefly represents. It is shown perfectly in this issue as sci-fi meets western. The characters are making their way across a desert landscape like something out of the old west, then someone whips out a massive laser gun or a spaceship flies overhead and you’re reminded of where and when this story takes place.
This storyline has been pitched as the true story of the Unification War. We could have gotten a history lesson as we dug into the past, but instead, we get something far greater. The cliffhanger ending of the first issue exposes how the other side saw Mal and Zoe’s actions. This one shows us some of their perspective and it’s fiery and violent.
Colorist Marcelo Costa makes these flashback sequences come alive with a bloody red. They appear as quick flashes of memory as Mal is reminded of the atrocities he witnessed during the war. Everything is shaded in this red, instantly giving you the feeling of pure rage that must have been pulsing through Mal’s veins at the time.
Although there is little dialogue in these sequences, letterer Jim Campbell makes sure you feel the emotion in what does appear. It’s fueled by anger, hatred, and frustration. There’s one scream that breaks the barriers of the word balloon which is a nice touch.
This contrasts with the cool blues of the evening in the present. While there’s a lot of tension, it’s an otherwise peaceful evening. There’s a definite gritty feel to Dan McDaid’s artwork which lines up well with the tone of the story and the setting. These are hard luck heroes, doing what’s right regardless of how the odds are stacked against them or whether or not it has a reward at the end. Sure, they want to get paid, but if they have a choice, you know which way they’re going to land.
McDaid creates a great juxtaposition between the desert locations, complete with covered wagons and the awesome sci-fi elements. It creates a slight cognitive dissonance in your head at first and then you realize what you’re in for so you can just sit back and enjoy. The spaceships and advanced weaponry are certainly out of this world, but they’re far from perfect. They’re battered and beat up. This is not a space age utopia. We shot for the stars and fell short.
Firefly is back and firing on all cylinders. This comic has wasted no time in getting us back into the ‘verse with all the trials and tribulations this crew faces. I was already a fan of these characters, but this book has allowed us to explore them further and dig into their lives and personalities in a way we have never been able to do before. Writer Greg Pak is most definitely doing these characters justice.