Comic Review: Serenity: Leaves on the Wind Part 2 (Dark Horse)

  Albert Mehrabian theorized that only 7% of being heard is what you say. The other 93% is how you say it. There’s a lot of debate on whether that’s […]

 

Albert Mehrabian theorized that only 7% of being heard is what you say. The other 93% is how you say it. There’s a lot of debate on whether that’s true or not, but it’s a theory that translates well in to storytelling. How well a story is told, and in what order events take place is an important part of the experience. Again that is debatable, but it all boils down to pacing. It’s the idea that you can build the maximum amount of impact for scenes and events with timing. It’s a concept that has merit, but pacing is also a matter of perspective. Reading a story of any kind, a person can adapt to the story and make it even better than it’s written by adding in their own pauses and inflections to get the maximum amount of impact out of scenes and events. The reader brings so much more to a story than they realize. So the question that followed my finishing Serenity: Leaves on the Wind Part 2 is basically,

Is this a good story, or am I just a good reader?”

 

 

Jayne and other chickLeaves on the Wind Part 2 picks up at least a day after the Part 1 ended. Though “picks up” is an irresponsible way to describe the beginning, because it starts out exceedingly dull. The exposition is shoehorned in to a plot that is generic at it’s best, and downright insulting to the integrity of the characters at it’s worst. Established characters come across more as caricatures, and say and do things that are frankly uncharacteristic. It sounds ridiculous, but humanizing a character who’s most significant feature is how inhuman he acts can completely change the perception of that character. The most frustrating part is how important the first part of the story is, as it’s supposed to give insight in to the conflict the heroes will face. Instead it comes off as being incredibly casual, unimpressive, and too short to carry any significant feelings of dread or apprehension in to the coming scenes. The second short and unnecessary scene is an exchange between the leader of the resistance and Jayne. It’s a conversation that only spans two pages and takes place in two rooms, with no transition. It’s a disorienting bit that takes up a lot of space, and doesn’t do enough for the plot to even matter. Also, I understand there were times in the show that Jayne was seen as a goofy character. But if I have to see him wearing that hat any longer, I think I’m going to scream. There’s a darkness and danger to Jayne that has been all but glossed over. He only really backs down against Mal, which just solidifies Mal’s stock as a leader in the eyes of the the audience. Constantly showing him in compromising situations, without any reason, isn’t just annoying; it’s inaccurate. Plus, did you hear Jayne refer to himself in the third person even once in the show or movie? He owns himself. It’s who he is. This entire scene just makes it seem like he’s trying to convince us of his identity, not through his actions or reactions but his words. It’s desperate and awkward and totally unlike Jayne. It’s all a big mess, but now that all the plot is out of the way, it’s time to move on to Serenity…

 

Leaves on the wind problems

 

…where things are just as bad. It’s hard to visualize anything going on when all the characters just seem to be reading from a script. There’s very little nuance, and everything left over from the characters’ original performance that does come through in the story seems to stick out like it’s saying, “Doesn’t that sound JUST like something Kaylee would say!” It doesn’t meld well with the rest of the dialogue of the characters, making it sound incredibly unnatural. However, the story that’s trying to come through is actually quite interesting. Zoe needs medical help that she can’t get on Serenity, but that means coming out in to the open and almost certainly getting caught. It’s a familiar sort of story for the crew, but one that’s incredibly exciting for the audience. And knowing the background of the characters we can see how difficult the decision is. And then it happens…

 

Leaves on the Wind 2 alarm

 

The alarm sounds.

 

 

And everything kicks in to high gear.

 

 

After bringing Zoe in for the medical care that she needs, the Serenity is instantly tagged and in a matter of moments the alliance is going to be on them like a plague. It’s exciting, it’s dangerous, it’s emotional. The transition was jarring, but suddenly the story starts clicking. As the pressure builds on the crew, we start to see the best parts of the characters shining through. From here on out it all picks up and gets a lot more fun to read. It still has some annoying character moments (specifically Jayne) that really detract from the pull, but as a whole makes for a fun and progressively more accurate portrayal of the characters and their quirks. The action is at an absolute standstill, so don’t expect any Western style shootouts, but it has an incredibly well presented cliff hanger that saved it from being jettisoned off of my reading list. Unfortunately, the scene composition is frustratingly languid, especially considering how intense the story could have been had the scenes been laid out in a more engaging way. Drudging through the first act is difficult, but the second and third make up for most of it. Leaves on the Wind 2 Zoe2

 

 

A lot more character interactions and colorful exchanges are going to be needed to pull this one out of the muck. But as it stands, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind is moving ahead. The love of the story and the characters from the creative team behind it is apparent, but the aspects that are being brought to the foreground may not be the things that made the universe so compelling to begin with. For example, the science fiction part is well presented, but the frontier aspect hasn’t had enough exposure to create the limitations needed to pull off the true desperation in the universe of Firefly. One personal gripe I have is that the lack of culture keeps the world presented from ever being truly alive.. It erases the contrast between Chinese traditionalism and science fiction, which in turn pulls the artistry and beauty out of this unique concept, leaving us with standard spaceships and lasers. It doesn’t fail by not presenting this part of their world, but the experience would be richer had it been included. Regardless, of these inconsistencies, there’s a lot to love in this series, but you have to be willing to search for it. It’s obvious that Leaves on the Wind is going somewhere, and it may even be worth the trip; but we’re probably going to be flying at slow burn.

 

 

 

-PS

All images courtesy of Dark Horse Comics, all rights reserved.   
Official site:
www.darkhorse.com
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind-Part 2 page:  http://www.darkhorse.com/Comics/Previews/23-609?page=0

 

 

About Staff Writer