‘Firefly #17:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Quick recap of “New Sheriff in the ‘Verse” so far: While Mal is still playing Sheriff in the ‘Verse, he’s still looking out for his own. It’s becoming obvious that the killer is out to cause him hurt, and it would appear that he has his sights set on Mal’s closest and dearest. Inara learns from a high-ranking Blue Sun contact that the threat may actually be coming from within Blue Sun, which seems fairly obvious given the killer’s arsenal and tech.

Chapter 5 of “New Sheriff in the ‘Verse” is a wild ride. Turns out, while Mal and Moon are trying to solve a mystery for one faction of Blue Sun, another team is flooding the market with communicators that also serve as surveillance devices without the knowing consent of the people. The allegory is paper-thin here, y’all! Meanwhile, the killer sets his sights on someone dear to Mal and the outcome is… surprising. Mal’s quickly learning that the problem with a snake like Blue Sun is that you cut off one head and others will spring up in its stead.

Greg Pak has been a revelation to me on his Firefly run. Personally, there are two aspects of his run that have greatly impressed me. The first is giving Firefly an authentic “Season 2” feel. Each arc has felt like a widening of the ‘Verse, with more details and characters to truly make it all feel like a well-lived-in universe. The second thing which I think that he has truly built up is the sheer reach and force of Blue Sun, which had been alluded to in the past, but Pak truly makes them feel like a real corporation with a lot of influence on the Alliance and therefore in the universe. Pak’s allegory of social justice and exploitation of the masses is heightened here with Blue Sun’s commodification of personal privacy. This mirror on our current high-tech, data-driven, ad-targeted societies is one of the reasons why #StoriesMatter. It’s easier to see injustices and duplicity when the victims don’t wear our own faces; nobody wants to think of themselves as being victims or - worse yet - be complicit in crimes, but introspection is at once both a great gift and curse of humanity, and it should be used to reexamine our positions.

I was surprised to see a change in the art team in the last issue, but Lalit Kumar Sharma and Francesco Segala return to the fold in Issue #17. I love their dusty, watercolor-y aesthetic in this series, and I truly hope that they continue with the series for a while. Is Jim Campbell still an unsung hero if I demand that minstrels sing his praises on loop? From sound effects that you can just hear and feel to making a conversation over communicator feel as though both characters are in the same space, Campbell achieves all that without the reader having to consciously discern the technical details to just follow the story.

Overall, some old complications are resolved while newer, deadlier ones come to the fore. Just another day in the life of Malcolm Reynolds.          


Creative Team: Greg Pak (writer), Lalit Kumar Sharma (art), Francesco Segala (colors), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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