The second part delves further into the genesis of the friendship between Garibaldi and Sinclair, while doing just a little bit more to advance the present-day story as well.
Garibaldi and Keffer have crash landed on the planet at Londo's rendezvous point. Setting the self-destruct on their ship, Garibaldi urges Keffer to cover as fast as possible. His hope is to make it appear that they both died in the crash, that they "blew up with the ship."
As they climb a nearby mountain, Garibaldi continues to tell Keffer about his first mission with former Babylon 5 Commander Jeffrey Sinclair. It is a mission that seems to eerily parallel their current situation - in ways not even Garibaldi currently suspects...
Though not quite as enticing as the excellent introductory issue, Shadows Past and Present, Part 2: Against the Odds continues to develop the story in a very effective manner. Once again, writer Tim DeHaas has the confidence to take his time. Every panel does not require a death-defying situation; in fact, entire pages are allowed to go by with most of the material devoted to characterization.
The Garibaldi/Keffer story, which was the central focus of the first installment, is here relegated mainly to a framing device. The bulk of this issue is devoted to Garibaldi's recollections of his first mission with Sinclair. The characterizations continue to work in this issue. As with the first part, I could clearly hear the voices of Michael O'Hare and Jerry Doyle as I read the dialogue. DeHaas obviously did his homework, with regard to simply watching the show.
The parallels between Garibaldi's past adventure with Sinclair, and his current dilemma with Keffer, are well-drawn. No explicit link with the Shadows has been made yet with regard to the Sinclair story, but we can sense that it is there, and we can already tell that there is far more connecting these two stories than a simple reminiscence. At the end of two issues, Shadows Past and Present is succeeding in the goal of any good entertainment: I want to read the next issue, to find out what happens next.
In my review of the first installment in this arc, I was both surprised and delighted to be able to praise the artwork for the first time in the comic's history. The artwork remains generally good in this installment, but it isn't quite as good as it was last issue. Sinclair's caricature in the last issue looked surprisingly dead-on (given how much trouble previous artists have had rendering him). In this issue, however, he only vaguely resembles the television Sinclair. It is still a closer rendering than any other artist has managed to date, but it isn't quite as close as in the last issue.
The artwork remains notable in this series, however, by its use of detail, and by the artist's use of color and shadow to evoke a mood. John Ridgway is definitely the best artist the Babylon 5 comic series has seen to date; it is a pity that, just as the series has managed to find someone capable to do its artwork, it is already nearing its end. Doubly a pity given how consistently good the stories have been - this comic is a splendid companion to the television series, and it is a pity it was not able to continue all the way to Year 5.
Not quite as strong as the first issue in the arc, but still more than good enough to have me anticipating the third installment.