What Is It?: Serenity: Better Days #3 (written by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews)
Timing: Follows "Better Days #2," concluding the "Better Days" arc (which is set AFTER "Firefly" and before "Those Left Behind.")
REVIEW: Better than #1, not as good as #2.
I admit, this issue confused the Hell out of me. After the second read it clicked a bit better, but a lot of the time I was wondering what the Special Hell was going on. Especially in the action sequences, but that's more of an art problem than anything else, so will be addressed in the "Art" section. But what's that about Simon and Inara? Was she just giving him advice, or...? If the other thing, why was such a huge plot develop left as a _____. This is supposed to be canonical, so if that DID happen, wouldn't the things set after this reflect such an incident? I might be totally off the mark here, but that just didn't make sense at all. I've read and understood comics far more convoluted than your average issue of "Serenity," so I really don't know what was up with that.
Other than that, the issue was pretty good. The reveal about Zoe's past was a remarkable idea, and really serves to separate Mal and Zoe's backstory, preventing it from being the 'exact same past,' which is a really good thing. All the voices were spot on, probably more so than any other issue. The dialogue feels like it came right out of an episode of the show, which is really good. Other than the stuff I spoke about in the first paragraph, this made me feel like I was watching "Firefly" again, which is what both the "Buffy" and "Angel" comics have done for me. Which is why I love them so much. Even though I didn't think it was a really great issue, the past two "Serenity" installments have given me hope that this story can live on in this medium.
Art: Same as before, except even more so. Will Conrad rocks the character's likenesses, but the action is horribly done. Adding to the WTF-Is-Going-On factor that the plot kind of smelled of, the big climatic action scene didn't work well at all. In Buffy, Angel, Y: The Last Man, Everybody's Dead, Astonishing X-Men, Runaways, and basically *any* other comic I've read, I could easily follow the action. Not so much here.