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Shadows Past and Present, Part 3: Survival the Hard Way, by Tim DeHaas

Both stories - past and present - advance further, and began to converge, in this third installment of the 4-part comics' arc.


As Garibaldi and Keffer continue to walk toward the Centauri city, Garibaldi feels confident that they have enough of a head-start on their pursuers that they needn't worry about capture. Garibaldi takes the opportunity of the walk to continue telling Keffer about his first mission with former Babylon 5 commander Jeffrey Sinclair.

Garibaldi and Sinclair are taking shelter from a duststorm. As Sinclair talks with Lieutenant Sanchez, who is still on the crashed shuttle, Garibaldi wanders out of the cave for a drink and a few bad memories about the death of his friend, Frank Kemmer. Between the alcohol and the guilt, Garibaldi passes out. When he comes to, Sanchez is urgently radioing him that Sinclair is trapped outside the collapsed cave, with Garibaldi his only hope of survival.

Back in the present, Garibaldi notices that Keffer is beginning to behave in uncharacteristically paranoid manner. Almost as if something on this planet has the power to affect men's minds...


Both plots develop even further this week, in preparation for the conclusion. If the previous installment showed parallels between the two missions, one past and one present, this one starts to bring the separate stories together. By the end of the issue, even Garibaldi knows that what is happening on the Centauri planet is linked to what happened to him and Sinclair on Mars - and the security chief is starting to get more than a little worried.

In the flashback storyline, the characterizations of Garibaldi and Sinclair continue to be quite strong. Garibaldi's guilt over the death of Kemmer, a bit of backstory introduced in the otherwise very weak episode Survivors, is further expanded in this issue. The flashbacks to the events leading to Kemmer's death are sparing but well-utilized, doing much to make that incident real.

The aliens on the planet also pose an intriguing threat. They are obviously minor underlings of the Shadows. As with the creature seen (or not seen) in The Long Dark, it makes the Shadows all the more sinister that they have such powerful servants. These creatures are obviously fast, as shown in their ability to catch up with Garibaldi and Keffer. That a single creature has the ability to influence Keffer's mind to such a degree as seen in the climax of this issue is disquieting. If one creature can have such an effect, what would happen if several creatures were working together?

Finally, the artwork continues to be very strong. The creatures are well-drawn, with their bright green eyes and wolf-like teeth calling to mind demons spawned from hell. The green, forested landscape of the Centauri colony of the present is nicely contrasted with the red and brown desert of Mars in the flashbacks. Finally, facial expressions for the characters are both varied and subtle. Had the comic series continued, Babylon 5 would have been well-advised to have held onto artist John Ridgway. He is the only artist for the comics series to date who actually seems to understand how to develop mood and atmosphere in his illustrations.


Not much. Keffer continues to be more of a plot device than a character. That is a problem with the entire second season, though, and not merely with this particular mini-arc. I do wonder how all the plot threads will be adequately tied together in the sole remaining installment, however.

My Overall Rating: 9/10. Another strong entry. This entire story would have been worthy of a 2-part episode of the series (though in Season 2, I doubt the series' budget could have done it justice).

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