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Laser-Mirror-Starweb, Part 2: Coda for Human and Narn in C Sharp, by David Gerrold

David Gerrold's 2-part story concludes in suitably entertaining fashion, though the artwork remains weak and the story itself may not be an ideal one for the Babylon 5 universe.


As Garibaldi and G'Kar flee through the axis tube of the station from a potentially-lethal cleaning robot, the security chief continues to grill the ambassador as to exactly why he faked an unscheduled space trip and is now hiding in the bowels of the station.

Meanwhile, Sheridan returns to the station with Greegil, G'Kar's "Ini Darka." Sheridan already knows that the "Ini-Darka" is the highest-ranking obligation in Narn culture. What he does not know is the exact nature of Greegil's obligation toward G'Kar... an obligation that, as G'Kar explains to Garibaldi, amounts to a single word:



The second half of Laser-Mirror-Starweb! follows very well on the heels of the first half. The questions raised by the first half are answered in an internally logical manner, and the motivations for G'Kar's bizarre behavior are explained adequately to justify the story.

Garibaldi and G'Kar continue to make an entertaining "Odd Couple." Their scenes in this issue are actually more entertaining than in the last issue, in large part because writer David Gerrold seems to have realized that the gag with Garibaldi singing badly has long since run its course.

Their continued games of "Laser-Mirror-Starweb" (read: Rock-Paper-Scissors) are also quite engaging, as G'Kar explains his cheating to Garibaldi by stating that he is "expanding the context" of the game. It is a perfect explanation for G'Kar to use, because it fits both sides of his personality. The idea of cheating in order to secure a victory fits perfectly with G'Kar the Manipulator, while the idea of "expanding the context" would certainly appeal to G'Kar the Spiritual Leader.

David Gerrold's take on Narn culture, as detailed by the revelations behind the story, manage to avoid contradicting the series. Indeed, the idea of Narn culture being based on the food chain - with warriors and assassins ranking at the top of the chain - seems to fit rather neatly with the clearly-established and respected Assassins' Guild that was introduced in The Parliament of Dreams. G'Kar's extremely active libido also gets a cultural explanation in this story that, at the very least, is also not contradicted by anything within the series proper.


The artwork remains weak. I would have said it was impossible after Part One for the character drawings to bear even less resemblance to the actual actors... but somehow, the artists sink to the challenge and find a new low in their work. In fact, there are several panels in which G'Kar and Garibaldi appear more or less identical! I am also quite certain that neither G'Kar nor Garibaldi is half so scrawny as their caricatures here would indicate.

The starweb is utilized once again in the climax of this story, and Gerrold's story would seem to indicate that such a device is in some way standard issue for the security personnel on the station. As this is clearly not the case on the actual series, this seems a rather severe and unnecessary breach in Babylon 5 continuity.

My final complaint is one manifested in both issues - namely, Gerrold's would-be "cute non-swearing." "We're in deep spit!" Garibaldi exclaims at one point. "What in the hull are you hiding from?" he asks G'Kar at another point. Both times, I groaned. Either use the correct word - and I know from a previous issue of this very comic that DC would have let "hell" through at the very least - or don't do it at all. It's a minor annoyance, perhaps, but it does take me out of the story just the same.


I know this story has a poor reputation in Babylon 5 fandom. I can even understand why. The broad comedy may not sit well for some against the overall grittiness of the series' universe (though JMS has never been averse to a little broad humor now and again himself), and the artwork for these two issues is genuinely appalling. I half-suspect that, if only these two issues had been better-drawn, the story itself may have been better-received.

But ultimately, these reviews are to reflect my own opinion, and not "conventional fan wisdom." At the end of the day, I have to say that I enjoyed these two issues very much. The story felt complete, well-paced and well-developed. Most importantly, the characters (as written, if not as drawn) spoke and acted in a way that seemed consistent with their televised characterizations. As noted in my review for Part One, I could easily hear the actors' voices in my head while reading this issue... something that was not always the case with the previous, 3-part comic storyarc.

My Final Rating for Part 2: 7/10

My Final Rating for Laser-Mirror-Starweb!: 7/10

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