Here’s a quick summary of Issue #5:
This issue starts with River, Mal, and Jayne under attack from one of the newly released and Alliance-”enhanced” teenage girls they had hoped to rescue. Their attacker makes quick work of the team, but Mal is able to enact his back-up plan and call the Serenity to their location while River manages to knock out her “sister.”
Outside the Alliance facility, the now rogue Operative battles another one of the Alliance’s sword-wielding agents. At first, the battle seems evenly matched, and then, in a simple stroke, the Operative has delivered a fatal blow to his former co-worker.
Immediately after, the Operative and New Resistance member Bea are confronted by a female agent of the Alliance who the Operative knows. Telling Bea to drop her weapon, the Operative chooses ritual suicide over fighting this new opponent. Just as he’s about to act, the Serenity arrives, opening its hanger to release a small army of New Resistance Browncoats. These reinforcements overpower the small Alliance force (the female operative escaping with her life) and assist Mal and his crew.
The issue leaves us with Mal, River, his crew, and the New Resistance army (or what’s left of it) preparing to use River’s psychic abilities to locate Zoe and rescue their friend.
Another excellent cover from Dan Dos Santos. Seriously, has Jayne ever looked better? Dark Horse, once again, gets major props for adding Santos to the team. He is an artist that consistently delivers A-level material and raises the book to a whole new level (much like Jo Chen’s beautiful work did for Buffy: Season 8).
Mal and Jayne get there asses kicked by a teenage girl . . . again. Oh, and River gets her ass kicked, as well. It figures that the completed version of what River was to become would be able to decimate our quirky band of heroes in short order. But, much like when they faced The Operative in the Serenity feature film, Mal’s always got an ace up his sleeve . . . or at least a jack. Jeanty’s sequential art work is excellent during this scene, using his talents to make sure every devastating blow is felt. The scene feels like a “sibling” to the similar moment in Serenity when River is triggered in a crowded bar and proceeds to beat the living @#$% out of everyone, including Mal and Jayne. It’s thrilling to see the same kinetic-type scene accomplished on the static page, as well as seeing River struggle to take on an opponent who mirrors her abilities so closely.
Operative vs. Operative. This samurai-influenced duel between the current and former agents of the Alliance is truly Serenity’s version of a lightsaber battle, and, despite being way too brief, it is a just as exciting as Lucas’ laser sword confrontations. It also gives the now rouge Operative a truly badass moment with his blade and a nice call back to the character’s very first appearance in the Serenity franchise.
A little help from Wash. Our favorite, dinosaur-toting pilot makes a brief appearance via flashback, and it’s just as good to see the guy. The fact that some of his “tech” is used to help Mal’s plan against the Alliance just adds more heat to the warm glow the fan base feels for this lost friend.
Mal leads the Browncoats again. It was exciting and intriguing to see Mal in an unexpected and unrequested leadership role. While it logically plays as the fallout from the events of the Serenity film, I also find it interesting that Mal’s journey (one that’s half celeb fame story, half rebel savior) seems to be present in the general undercurrent of pop culture, and perhaps the public zeitgeist, at this time. Mal’s situation here is not that different from that of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games book series. It seems as if we are approaching a place where we now realize that social media and other advancements in technology have led us to a place where our heroes may be understandably reluctant, partially due to the fact that being a hero now requires an ability to battle the media machine that seeks to dissect and define everything that it consumes. And, the danger is no longer just being defamed by the loudest voices in the public forum, it’s also the battle against positive propaganda and the unreachable expectations it can convey to the masses.
The Female Operative. There’s nothing “bad” here when it comes to the writing or the art. No, the appearance of the unnamed (so far) Female Operative is, instead, going to be bad for Mal and his crew. At least that is what I assume of anyone whose very presence makes the Operative piss himself and decide to perform hara-kiri.
There’s only one issue left. How is this possible? Do you really want to hurts us like this? Come on, Dark Horse! You guys are just joking, right? Joss, you’re going to announce an ongoing, aren’t you? How about you, Zack? Georges? Anyone?
FINAL VERDICT: Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #5 is another MUST READ, like all the previous issues that came before it. This series has stayed consistently strong throughout its run, and there’s no indication that will be changing anytime soon. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind is the closest thing a fan can get to the original series. Do not deny yourself this highly enjoyable and satisfying read!
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #5 is out in comic stores now, so be sure to secure yourself a copy (or two . . . Jeanty has a gorgeous variant cover for this issue featuring a righteously pissed off Zoe).
For more info on the series and to read a free preview of the first issue, stop by the official Dark Horse Comics website. You can also check out my reviews of the first four issues of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind at the links below:
‘Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #4’ - Advance Comic Book Review (Still Extra Shiny)
‘Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #3’ - Advance Comic Book Review (Nothing in the ‘Verse Can Stop This Series)
‘Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #2’ – Advance Comic Book Review (Still Flying Steady)
‘Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1’ – Advance Comic Book Review [About Gorram Time (and Thanks a Bunch, Joss & Co.)]
Also check out Episode #1 of FBC Presents, Fanboy Comics' latest podcast which features an exclusive and in-depth interview with Georges Jeanty.
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers. Keep on course, and we’ll rendezvous at the next friendly outpost in about a month!
’Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer