So, the time has come to finish up this page by page analysis of Leaves On The Wind. And we’re finishing things off with an extra-long issue…
A quick set-up to re-orient the reader, though they did it in an entreatingly “visceral” fashion. And hey, a Stephen King nod. Well OK then. You’d think Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption would be more appropriate.
A really nice page here, full of contrast and colours. I love the holographic star charts Mal is holding up, and the “distressed” look on the Alliance officers head. River’s penetration of your mind has never been indicated to be an act that would cause pain to the subject, so I would assume this is more of a psychological thing.
Another great contrast between a peaceful solemn moment at the top as Simon and Kaylee comment on River 2 (and man, Leaves On The Wind has been flat-out ignoring the Simon/Kaylee relationship, for the most part) and the sudden violence in the lower half.
Don’t know why the top image is split into two panels. Nothing much else of note in this page, just giving Simon a chance to take centre stage again, now with a new River to work his magic on.
Mal outlines the plan in a nicely set-up kitchen scene. Good to see Jayne whine about his injury, and the New Resistance dismissed as an option for the kind of job they are planning to pull here.
We come now to the heart of the Bea character and her obsession with Mal, already portrayed in an unhealthy fashion, now revealed to have a bit of a Daddy issue attached to it as well. For a man who just led the New Resistance on a successful raid of an Alliance facility, Mal’s “War’s over” rings hollow. This is also the same spot on the ship where Mal, in response to Zoe thoughts on never leaving men behind in the war, responded “Maybe that’s why we lost”.
I don’t find the resolution to this scene all that satisfying really, it just jumps from oddity to oddity. Mal snaps about the job, then inquiries about Bea’s father and then we end on that really goofy look on Bea’s smiling face.
This would be trite but for the very well executed nod to Serenity’s class name at the very end. Hope springs eternal. Pretty lucky that Serenity happened to fly by in the direct line of Zoe’s window though.
An expansive shot of the prison complex, albeit one with a remarkable lack of solid detail. Zoe heads for the hills. Bet you regret that wall-less prison now, eh Alliance?
They sure do. The way the guard see Mal, Bea and the Operative heading towards him reminds me of the Rebel Alliance soldiers seeing the AT-ATs in The Empire Strikes Back.
Zoe’s dash for freedom gets some help. First from Jayne, calling back to his role in the finale of “Serenity”. Secondly from one-eyed prison buddy, who hilariously smashes a guard over the head with a big rock. This should probably mean more but just doesn’t: she’s barely had five lines in the whole comic, so I don’t really care about her at all.
Woah, where did all the bikes come from!? OK, whatever. Zoe zooms to the hovermule and away we go. Unexpected chase sequence!
This is a fun page, the exact kind of manic-looking frenetic action sequence I wish I could see in live-action. Calling back to the hovermule chase in Serenity of course, especially with the banter between Mal and Jayne.
More banter, but it doesn’t really feel the same when it’s between Mal and Zoe. The blood spurts here are incredible: Bea’s shot in the top panel turns her opponents head into tomato paste.
The hovermule crashes into Serenity, and for some reason the Alliance officer is left behind. Why? They killed Jubal Early, what makes this other guy so special?
This heart-warming reunion is all well and good, but somewhat ruined by the shark eyes Zoe and her daughter have. Feel like Flint should be lurking in the background.
The Operative takes his leave, giving the Alliance officer a name, finally, in the process. Seeing Mal shake his hand was very off-putting: the Operative is still responsible for causing a lot of hurt to Mal.
Early in this comic Simon acted as if giving River 2 her mind back was going to be a nigh-impossible task. Well, not so fast, because he did it off-screen in this issue apparently. OK, whatever.
The crew, minus Mal and Zoe, rally around Iris. Nice Jayne line regards the “nutjobs” that seem to gravitate to Serenity. Bea signals she’s leaving too, which surprised me, she seemed like new crew in the making.
So, the Zoe/Operative confrontation. There’s a certain unreal quality to it, maybe because of the pleasant looking background, that calls some kind of samurai duel to mind. There’s also the awkward reality that Zoe didn’t take a shot at the Operative at the end of Serenity: what’s changed in the meantime?
And why should Zoe, if she’s looking for simple revenge, throw the Operative a gun to defend himself with? This really shouldn’t be an affair of honour, and having just gotten back to her baby daughter, Zoe is now going to risk that just to give the Operative a chance to not die at her hands?
Yes, that’s right, we won’t get to see the end of that confrontation, naturally, though surely it must mean that that the Operative is a dead man. Iris enjoys some wigs, I enjoy Jayne’s blunt description of Inara’s former trade. Looks like all’s well that ends well.
A nice quiet moment between Mal and Zoe, ending in some rare physical contact between the two. And all surrounded by leaves on the wind. We have a title!
Between that Mal/Zoe moment, the Mal/Inara moment here and the sight of Kaylee and Simon having sex in the engine room, Leaves On The Wind really is aping the end of Serenity bigtime.
Yup, just a big ol lifting, save for the fact that there isn’t a storm this time. And yes, we get it, there are leaves on the wind. Hard to miss.
Wait, we aren’t quite done yet. In a scene so different I initially thought it might be a preview for a completely different comic, someone who looks like an honest-to-God witch introduces the female operative to somebody she’s found. Oh no. Don’t do it. Don’t!
Ahhhhhhhhhh. This is dumb as hell. Why is this a thing with Jubal Early!? And what is with that cod-piece!? And two missing River-copies, I geddit.
Bum bum bum. This is supposed to act as a shocking “To be continued” ending, but fails completely. She being bald is not some great revelation, and she wanting to still go after River is not a surprise. Ugh, what an awful ending.
Leaves On The Wind had its high points, but it had a lot of low points too. The artwork was oft awful, there were plenty of narrative holes and dead ends, and the whole thing generally had that fan-fiction feel that just makes you unlikely to ever truly engage with it the way you would otherwise. There is too much lifting from the TV show and the movie in terms of ideas and scenes, and the series’ antagonists have been almost uniformly awful, especially its baffling treatment of the Jubal Early character. As a continuation of the story, it just isn’t that great.
But it wasn’t the end. Another Serenity comic started just recently, and I’ll be moving onto that next.