This issue kicks off right where we left off. The discovery of the portal onboard the ship leads the crew to suspect that perhaps not all is on the level with the monks at the monastery. Meanwhile, the Tax Collector and his gang are back and Simon gambles with his life to buy the group some time. In a shocking turn of events, Jayne seemingly suffers a very personal tragedy when the ship with the portal unexpectedly explodes.
With licensed titles that stem from TV shows, I find it nigh impossible to not see them as “episodes” or at least as arcs within a season. These last eight issues have felt like a Jayne double special in a way, with the introduction of his son, Owen, kicking off the second “episode” in a way. What David M. Booher has done for Jayne’s character in just a few issues is nothing short of astounding, and it feels timely… for too long, Jayne’s kinda been the jackass who comes through at the end, but his character hasn’t had a lot of heart. That’s changed since Booher’s taken over. And, as a bonus, it feels like Simon is finally getting some well-deserved development, too. Honestly, the number of times the good doctor has been sidelined is criminal and, personally, I’d like some more of that and some extra development for Inara, because these are the two characters that had the most to lose in terms of their status and privileges, and they sacrificed it all anyway.
David M. Booher’s script keeps going from strength to strength. Each opening Jayne sequence seems to be building to a better understanding of the character, and it really does help with the narrative and how Jayne’s struggling with doing the right thing, albeit with flawed motives and execution. The end of this issue may really be a turning point for Jayne, but that remains to be seen. That being said, I doubt that we’ll see the same callous mercenary that we’ve grown accustomed to emerge from the other side.
Vincenzo Federici’s artwork continues on a strong trajectory, giving us a nice balance of character moments and action sequences. It seems so seamless, but I’m sure that Federici’s skill is a big part of that notion. The colors by Matt Herms continue to imbue this series with so much energy and character. The muted colors in the early Jayne bits are still some of my favorite panels, and the lighting effects of this issue are top notch. It feels like I’m just always singing this guy’s praises, but, y’all, Jim Campbell is a magical being that does incredible work with the lettering of any book he’s on. Sound effects, speech patterns, and volume… this guy does it all and in such a subtle and effective way.
The sum-up: This feels like a brand-new phase for Jayne, but Simon and Inara also get to shine. With the explosive ending here, it’ll be interesting to see where Jayne goes next.
Creative Team: David M. Booher (writer), Vincenzo Federici (art), Matt Herms (colorist), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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