Greg Pak’s dive into the Reynolds’ troubled past and complicated present threads the line between being poignant and sappy. Maude Reynolds is never presented as a traditional maternal figure, and yet you never doubt that she loves her son; all of her harshness is so that he wouldn’t grow up “soft” and be taken advantage of. It’s interesting that, in her mind, the one moment of tenderness we see her show results in misadventures that require tough love. For his part, Mal seems to understand that, even though he seems to reject those lessons at his core. Also, the bonus of getting more Mal/Boss Moon shenanigans is always gold. The surprise ending just about guarantees more internal conflict for Mal and his Ma. Things are never easy for a soft-hearted space smuggler.
Davide Gianfelice and George Kambadais share art duties on this issue, with Gianfelice handling the present-day events and Kambadais working out the past. Both styles serve their sections well, with Gianfelice’s grittier and more detailed style more closely matching Dan McDaid’s work from the current Firefly series and Kambadais’ looser and starker compositions reflecting a simpler time in Mal’s life. Joana LaFuente’s color work ties the narrative together with a more washed out palette for the past and a jazzier color scheme for the present. Jim Campbell’s lettering does all you really hope a great letterer can do: keep the dialogue moving and the scenes switching seamlessly from past to present and back again.
Overall, while not very long, this look at Ma and Mal’s relationship sure fills in some of the gaps of their past. More importantly, it’s also a bridge to the new arc that begins with Firefly #13 later this month.
Creative Team: Greg Pak (writer), Davide Gianfelice and George Kambadais (art), Joana LaFuente (colors), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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