Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Dan McDaid & Marcelo Costa
My last Firefly review speaks on keeping the world open to new readers and trust in Pak to bring everything together later on. Reading issue 3 keeps me in the same line of thinking as before. It’s a fun story set in the small world that fans want to see fleshed out. There are twists that keep the story going and intriguing reveals, but I can’t help but feel like they’re monotonous. It was a quick read that kept my interest by merely existing and being in my hand. I believe it will come together soon, but I’ll enjoy it more in its entirety than in monthly installments.
After the warnings from the last issue, the Unificators make their way to the religious caravan the Serenity crew is guarding. We follow their escapades in hunting Mal and Zoe whom they are always a step behind. There is more than a few unnecessary pages involving the Unificators being mad about not finding their marks. Considering it’s the third issue, I found the gag to be a bit stale for my tastes in pacing. It does lead to a few funny moments though. At one-point Jayne sells out Mal and Zoe in what is ambiguously left to be a plan or serious betrayal. Since he receives no consequences, we assume it was all a plan but can never be too sure with him.
Though some pages are unnecessary and just there as filler, there is progression setting up the end of the arc. It turns out that the flashbacks Mal is having aren’t just of a moment in the war, they’re a mistake. In a considerable reveal, we learn that Mal and Zoe are responsible for bombing a hospital. This reveal is a double-edged sword for me.
It’s great to see Pak diving into the war and ramifications of horrible actions that came from it. I like that characters we usually take the side of are now in the realm of “how could they?” On the other hand, I’m not sure I like the extreme of blowing up a hospital to paint them in a gray light. I understand Mal and Zoe are meant to be characters who fall in-between good and evil, but this feels unforgivable. It may be misdirection, but I’ll have to see how the story wraps up before passing more than this judgment.
The religious caravan winds up having a predictable turn as a sacrificial cult. The issue closes with the reveal and remaining crew members in their clutches. While it was clear this was heading here, Pak makes it interesting by adding in the Unificators. While the story feels overstuffed at times, their presence changes the dynamic. The only way for Mal and Zoe to save their crew is by giving themselves up and joining forces with those hunting them. It’s a lot of talking to get there, but it happens, and I’m about it.
The art seems to do less for me this issue than it did the last issue. There are mostly dusty mountains and fewer flashback sequences to add color to the book. It was well enough, but the world doesn’t feel as full as Firefly can feel. I don’t blame McDaid or Costa because they do place readers into the genre well. I think it’s just that there hasn’t been much more than a caravan trip and a saloon town to draw. The cult’s sacred area is a standout moment in the book though, shining like a World of Warcraft elf monument.
The book is a good enough stepping stone for the arc, but it happens at an inopportune place. If this were the first issue, I could see the pacing and action flying there. It feels like a small misstep though not an exaggerated or book-killing misstep. Firefly seems like it’ll be a great series for fans but it’s still finding its wings.
Definitely a good issue but the overall narrative is a trade-wait scenario