It’s a dark time for Brownouts everywhere. While this week will see the release of Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #2 (written by Chris Roberson and featuring the art of Georges Jeanty), with the plot thickening in many positive ways, all things Serenity and Firefly are immersed in the shadow of the passing of the incredibly talented actor behind our beloved Shepherd, Ron Glass. Ideally, there’d be something incredibly poignant or moving that I could write at this time, but it’s all already been said by the other members of his “crew,” so if you’re looking for comfort or to remember this warm and generous man, I’d point you in that direction.
When it comes to issue #2 of Dark Horse Comics’ Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse, things aren’t looking very bright for our crew either, with ideological fissures forming between the members of Serenity, and a literal (and emotional) punch to the gut (and a few other places).
Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #2 begins with Mal and company coming face to face with the Browncoat terrorist organization known as the Peacemakers. It’s an extensive and impressive underground operation, and despite the fact the Mal doesn’t completely agree with their methods, it’s clear that the cruel actions of the Alliance and his repressed anger from his war experiences definitely make the Captain more than a little sympathetic to their cause. Despite protests from Simon, the crew and the Peacemakers are soon working together to plan a way to rescue Bea from her Alliance captors. Meanwhile, River is led into a unexpected meeting with a few more of her superpowered “siblings” and suffers what may be her first real defeat in physical combat.
While, I’d still argue that Roberson’s story seems a bit small in scope for the advantages of the comic book medium (more comparable to the feel of an episode of the Firefly TV series than the epic, cinematic feature feel of Leaves on the Wind), the plot is continuing to build on the events established in issue #1 and delve into interesting and believable dramatic paths. The revisiting of Mal’s anger over what he experienced in the war against the Alliance brings up some great and meaty dramatic dialogue, especially his rant about the murders he’s witnessed. Simon’s “privileged” outrage seems spot on for the character, especially given the fact that Mal is mixing with terrorists with a “burn it all down” sense of purpose, but at the same time, when paired with a “classic” Kaylee and Simon tiff and a play on the infamous Jayne Cobb hat, some of the plot points feel a little like a retread. That said, it still operates as a very good and skillfully written retread, and we’ve yet to see where these plot threads lead in the next few issues. And, besides, the standout scenes here go to entirely to River in this issue.
We get to see River in action twice this issue, first defending her friends in an impressive and synchronized performance with Iris, and, secondly, facing a squad of her “brethren” under the command of Kalista, the female operative from Leaves on the Wind. Roberson scripts an amazing emotional battle, one where readers may even believe, for a panel or two, that River might pull it off, despite the odds and basic logic. When she does go down, it’s painful to see, as River’s impressive abilities have always been on of her greatest strengths, especially when it comes to hopeless situations. Jeanty excels at hand-to-hand combat scenes (as can be seen easily during his time on Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer series), and his depiction of River’s fight is graceful and full of emotion, as our girl fights to the end against the inevitable.
Jeanty, as expected, continues to be a brilliant and satisfying choice in the art department, and cover artist Dan Dos Santos really delivers this month as well.
FINAL VERDICT: While I’m continuing to hope that No Power in the ‘Verse will continue its upward swing, the direction this series is flying in is defiantly a good one. The characters are recognizable and familiar, the new settings and introductions fit the tone of universe fans expect to return to, and there’s a whole heap of potential regarding what could happen in the remaining issues of the series. All Browncoats should think twice before missing this one!
For more info on the series, stop by the official Dark Horse Comics website.
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers. Rest in peace, Mr. Glass. You will be sorely missed, Shepherd.
’Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer