Normally, it’s never a safe day for anyone on this crew, but this story arc has proved to be one of the more dangerous situations that they have gotten themselves into. Especially in the case of Mal and Zoe. This run of Firefly is one where you can’t let your guard down for a second when even now Mal and Zoe find themselves in greater dangers than they started with.
How this issue started off was quite the turn of events for Zoe in particular. You would have quickly thought this was where her luck began to run out. When you have it in your head that aside from River, every one of these people are only human, you jump into every new situation with the reality that no one is safe. This fight she got herself into could have gone either way, but I’m glad for how it actually turned out since no time was lost taking us deeper into the rich history of that war. It was just a little bit, but there’s a lot going on right now to pack so much into a single issue.
With that said, the big thing for this issue in general was the opportunity to enrich our understanding of Mal and Zoe’s worst day of the war. I was shocked by how fast they jumped into the worst that this war brought out in the two. When you always see that grim look on their faces whenever the war is mentioned, you usually see either guilt or shame for what happened. For this chapter of their lives there was a bit more focus on the shame. I couldn’t argue with this considering the big question revolved around if they were actually war criminals for what they had to do.
Getting back to Mal and Boss Moon, that came with the biggest change in tone in contrast to everything else going on. There was more chaos and engagement to their survival efforts. Things could have gone very differently for these two, or even very predictable considering their hate for one another, but they found the right points to shake things up. Particularly when it came to showing how Mal isn’t quite the same person he once was during the war. He makes some hard calls, but only when there is no other choice.
Back with the others, I enjoyed how this time around there was a little more effort put into the glue that keeps this crew together. When you look at the cover for this issue, you can’t help but wonder what kind of trouble Jayne could cause for the rest of the crew since he’s the only one selfish enough to care more for money than anyone else’s well being. The response from most of the crew to him was memorable since in most cases we would get a story where they all make a quick retort and move on. Here, there was a bit more sternness to the possibility of that betrayal of trust. Personally, I appreciated some of the humor they managed to throw into the mix as well.
The interior work for this issue was solid work. Nothing too standout, but you could commend the effort that was put into creating some intense character moments between Zoe, Mal, and Boss Moon. Perspective made a big difference here, as well as a great using of shading to emphasize mood. It really felt like you could step in their shoes to feel what they were experiencing every time they hit an obstacle that struck a nerve. This went double for Boss Moon, and it even showed in her fighting capability. She went from action hero with a gun to unmovable object with a spear very quick.
This issue of Firefly had a lot going on, but I was overall impressed by the quality writing that went into all of it. Mostly when it came to the pacing which could have easily been rushed or clunky if handled any differently.