This issue generally answers that question. While the last couple of issues gave us the lay of the land in this new world, Issue #27 largely focuses on Mal. His motivations for his current seclusion are hinted at, but, at the end of the day, this is mostly a slice-of-life-in-a-day-of-Mal kind of issue. It’s no surprise that, given his experiences in the past, Mal struggles with issues associated with loyalty, leadership, and accountability.
Greg Pak takes us on a very different journey in this issue, giving us a very personal story that’s largely focused on Mal and his grief. It’s probably unsurprising and maybe a bit cliched, but can you really resist a story that also features a cute dog? Perhaps I’m biased, but I think Pak’s handling of Mal’s grief by contrasting his trauma with the unfettered optimism of a dog is rather genius. It’s not unexpected, but it’s an example of why #StoriesMatter; when executed well, stories make us feel new feelings about familiar characters, despite the retread of familiar tropes.
Ethan Young takes over the illustrative duties in this issue, and while the art style is definitely a change of pace, its strengths do carry through. While light on likenesses, Young’s artwork carries the same dynamic nature of his predecessors, and the heavy focus on storytelling pays off here, with some great panels that depict Mal’s inner turmoil. Joana Lafuente’s colors complement the artwork well, giving us great eye candy while dealing with the occasional explosive emotional burst. Jim Campbell keeps the proceedings going as usual, being a consistent force in this series so far with his lettering, keeping both dialogue and sound effects moving and grooving.
Overall, this is mostly an in-between issue of sorts, bridging the action on the previous issues with the future directions of the rest of the arc, with Mal being the linchpin. We can only hope that he’s also the force that swings the balance towards good.
Creative Team: Greg Pak (writer), Ethan Young (art), Joana Lafuente (colors), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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