Can’t Keep A Jayne Cobb Down: Reviewing ‘All-New Firefly’ #9
by Scott Redmond
‘All-New Firefly’ is rocketing towards it’s big damn finale with no signs of slowing down as it continues to focus on Jayne Cobb and makes the character and this world richer with every single page and issue. While it’s a shame the series has an endpoint, the story that we’ve gotten out of these issues has been fantastic and is definitely going to go down as a classic take on this universe of characters.
All-New Firefly’s journey to breathe a whole lot of depth and life into Jayne Cobb continues as the series approaches the upcoming big finale. Centering a story on this character and managing to write out such maximum emotional weight and depth is surely something to commend, as is the wonderful visual packaging that accompanies Jayne’s tale.
Right away we’re treated to some stunning but emotionally weighty visuals that come from a new creative team, who is also not new at the same time. Francesco Segala is not new to this series or Firefly overall, having colored previous issues of this run as well as the previous book, and Simona Di Gianfelice is new to this particular book but worked on the last series alongside Segala. Both of them worked on a story in the recent 20th anniversary special for the series as well.
As noted, those first pages of Jayne sadly in space around the wreckage mourning Owen while voices of the past filter through his mind is just amazing. Space is both beautiful and lonely/sad at the same time as our focus is on the broken Jayne, who has just lost the son that he had only recently learned existed. It sets the tone but also helps with the overall rehabilitation, of sorts, of this character into one that we can heavily feel for because his loss is powerful and his reactions to this moment and the whole Owen appearance serve to humanize him.
Di Gianfelice and Segala are just a great duo as they did amazing things with the Earth That Was in the previous series, and that continues here. Emotional/facial work is something that Di Gianfelice nails, telling us everything we need to know just by a glance at these faces we know so well at this point. While I noted in previous reviews that prior art teams brought a bit of roughness into play that fits this crew, the somewhat slicker/softer artwork here still works. Just like the space scenes, the Requiem scenes are beautiful but desolate and dangerous at the same time, and the monastery feels huge and very worn as it should.
Meeting the emotional needs or just overall tone is something that is reflected in Segala’s colorwork. One of the things that really stands out to me, both in the past and here, is the lighting work that Segala is putting into play. Space is dark and cold, but still full of light because of stars, while the planet is bright and warm, too warm reflecting the more arid desert-like conditions. At the same time, the ship interiors are lit in ways that feel sufficiently artificial and range from the more welcoming light of personal space and the colder more utilitarian lighting of the common/workspaces. With plenty of well-blended darkness and shadows to go around.
I read through the previous Firefly series and became a fan of Di Gianfelice and Segala’s work, but I wasn’t familiar with David M. Booher before this series. You better believe I’m very aware now and already have plans to read and review his next upcoming series. Anyone that can make me care about Jayne Cobb of all characters, that’s someone that I’m going to follow through their creative endeavors.
When this series was announced I wasn’t expecting basically one big maxi-series story arc, but Booher has made it read so smoothly and it naturally moves forward and doesn’t honestly feel like it’s been nine issues at this point. It’s basically like a multipart or longer episode of the show with even more time spent on characters, and I dig that. It was also nice that the previous series and their time on Earth have not been forgotten as it’s coming back into play here. I love it when creators tie back into what the previous creative team did before them, building on each other rather than just ignoring what has gone down.
Oh, and I have to touch on the moment between Mal and Jayne here. On one hand, someone could see it as perhaps manipulative in order to get Jayne to come out of his bunk as they needed him, but at the same time, it speaks to how much Mal has changed since the events of Serenity and through the previous series. He makes it clear that the hope is perhaps for naught, but it speaks to the old captain in him that he’s trying to motivate someone that is part of his crew/family because all they have ever had is hope and each other.
I’ve hit on how emotionally heavy this issue, and overall, this long story arc has been, and this is carried in every part of the issue but especially within the lettering. We can see the emotion that is happening visually from faces and body language, but Jim Campbell makes sure that we’re hearing it too. Changes to the font of dialogue to go from smaller or bigger, depending on which volume is needed, makes sure that we know that someone is quiet or loud at the moment which fits their emotional state. It all flows around the pages in a logical and natural way, going from off to the side to in your face depending on the moment’s needs.
Speaking of angry or loud, the big giant bold wording surrounded by a red-ringed speech bubble is just some glorious stuff. It takes the loudness up a whole other notch, which I’m always in favor of, cranking things up to eleven basically. This is very befitting of Jayne, but also anyone that finds themselves irritated by Jayne like Kaylee later in the issue.
All-New Firefly #9 is now available from BOOM! Studios.