Like “Blue Sun Rising” #0, this is a jumbo-sized issue, coming in at 40 pages of rapid-fire fun and plot. This book serves as a closing bookend of the year-long plot of Mal playing sheriff and pissing off Blue Sun, and it does close the chapter rather neatly, with some bittersweet moments along the way. It also establishes a new status quo for the crew dynamic with a couple of surprising groupings. How this new status quo will link up to established continuity in the Serenity film remains to be seen, as the next arc will spring us beyond the film’s timeline.
Greg Pak closes out his second year on this series in grand style, positioning the crew for new beginnings. Although the pacing of the issue is pretty brisk throughout, Pak manages to find a couple of places to tuck in some effective tender moments. Through the last two years, we’ve seen some of the Serenity crew grow in unexpected ways, while others have seemed to be spinning their wheels, waiting for character growth in the feature film. Moving forward, I’m really hoping that some of these characters will be given their due. #StoriesMatter when the characters matter, and these Big Damn Heroes are well worth our admiration and attention. Not exactly my most original thought, but good stories give us the tools to examine and evaluate ourselves and the society that we build and maintain.
Dan McDaid returns to close out this chapter, and it’s the same caliber of greatness that I’ve come to associate with this series. It's only fitting, since McDaid launched this series along with Pak in its earliest days. McDaid’s aesthetic really does nail the tone of the series, with strong design work and just enough quirkiness to keep the series from looking generic. Marcelo Costa’s colorwork is awesome, as per yoosh, whether it’s giving a planet the dusty grit needed to make it feel like a Western, or making sure that space feels like home for the crew. Vincenzo Federici’s inks on a few of the pages blend in with the rest of the work by McDaid, which feels right. Finally, Jim Campbell’s work on the lettering is top-notch, as I’ve come to expect. He has such an eye (Or, is it “ear?”) for dialogue, and the placement of the text really does lead the eye to read in a very intuitive way, lending itself really nicely to establishing cadence and tone.
Overall, with “Blue Sun Rising” finally setting and our heroes headed into the unknown, this issue largely pays off the emotional investment of the last two years. It’ll be interesting to see how the characters here will jive with Serenity, and then it truly is into the unknown with these rebels.
Creative Team: Greg Pak (writer), Dan McDaid (art), Vincenzo Federici (inker), Marcelo Costa (colors), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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