After focusing on the crew on the Serenity in the last few issues, Issue #32 takes us to the other side, quite literally. This is an issue that’s focused on the crew members that were on the other ship, namely Inara, Lank, and Stev. A special guest star does appear, too, which is both a boon to the story and a major continuity breaker of sorts.
I’ve really enjoyed the main Firefly story so far, despite a couple of seeming incongruencies between the current series and the end of the Serenity film and Dark Horse Comics series. Given the number of years that have passed between those events and now, there’s a lot that can be attributed to off-page development that they don’t necessarily want to go into right now; however, given the timestamp in the major flashback scenes in this issue, that logic seems to completely go out the window. I’m not sure if this discrepancy is intentional (Honestly, I’m not sure how that might be a possibility, given current knowledge.) or an oversight on Greg Pak’s part, but it does absolutely throw a wrench into my understanding of how much time has passed, and that has a lot to do with human gestational periods and toddler development.
All that said, the involvement of a particular spiritual leader in this story does make thematic sense (just not temporal sense)… the inclusion of a bastardization of the “Prayer of Serenity” is a nice touch, and it has a profound impact on young Stev. Pak has a way with building suspense and letting it simmer with some nice character stories, and this is no different. I really liked that this is a story of “those left behind,” in a sense, because in its own way, it makes me feel like the saying “two sides to a story” seems like an antiquated way of understanding how our life experiences affect others; it’s not so much that our viewpoints are opposing sides but rather that realities run in parallel, even when they don’t seem that way. The trajectory through time is the same, but the paths can be very different.
Jahnoy Lindsay takes over art duties on this issue, and I’m of two minds about their work. On the one hand, I really like how their coloring of the issue really works with their linework. It’s warm and effusive for the most part, lending weight to the sentimentality of the issue. On the flipside, the likenesses are mostly out the window here, with most characters identifiable only because they’re referenced by name or by context cues like their outfits. Jim Campbell remains the MVP here in how they translate the script into how the reader experiences it. It hits hard at times, but there are these moments of quiet tenderness that really just come through, and I think that’s pretty gorram awesome when you can achieve that with how you letter an interaction!
Overall, a brief reprieve from the action of the (seemingly) main story, but it does carry its own weight here. Pity about the weird time issue that may throw readers for a loop for now, but here’s hoping it’s intentional and it all makes sense…
Creative Team: Greg Pak (writer), Jahnoy Lindsay (art), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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