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The Price of Peace, by Mark Moretti

The 3-issue storyarc centering around the framing of Jeffrey Sinclair concludes with this somewhat rushed and disappointing final installment.


As Sinclair faces a potential death sentence on Minbar, the situation on Babylon 5 grows increasingly desperate. Earthforce Colonel Raybock has arrived on the station to take over the investigation, despite Sheridan's attempts to stall him. With Raybock apparently determined to ignore all evidence of Sinclair's innocence, Sheridan orders Garibaldi back to full duty.

Garibaldi uses all the resources at his disposal to find Jason Colby, the man who planted the gun in Sinclair's luggage. But on Minbar, every piece of evidence the Babylon 5 staff provide only serves to convince Alit Neroon that Sinclair acted with the full backing of Earth. With Neroon urging renewed hostilities against the human race, and the judges seeming increasingly inclined to agree, Sinclair tries a last, desperate gambit to preserve the peace.


Though less engaging than the preceding volumes, there are several interesting elements in The Price of Peace. Chief among these is writer Mark Moretti's handling of Sinclair. In the previous issues of this storyarc, Sinclair was left in a very passive role. Here, he gets both more and better material. To his credit, Moretti seems to know the character. Sinclair's solution is completely in keeping with his first season characterization, as he uses an ancient Minbari law to block Neroon's attempts to stir up a second Earth/Minbari War.

The plot has some interesting background details, as well. In an intriguing twist, we learn that the entire assassination plan was purely decorative. No assassination was ever meant to occur. We also learn of ties between Psi Corps and the Homeguard - which, looking back on the events of the first season (and at some very interesting first season newspaper headlines) actually helps to make sense of a lot of the events, right down to the salute Garibaldi's aide gave him in his final scene in Revelations. All of it is very much in keeping with J. Michael Straczynski's stated preference for the "onion structure." Peel back one layer, and find another... nicely done.


Despite these intriguing elements, this issue fails to satisfy in the way that the previous installments did. A major problem is that this final installment just feels overburdened with plot. For example, scenes with Jason Colby see him listening in on a conversation that conveniently just happens to feature a wealth of stilted exposition. Garibaldi's manhunt for Colby is over too quickly, with too little apparent effort. The entire story suddenly feels rushed, and one suspects that this arc needed a fourth issue in order to resolve itself more naturally.

Moretti's narrative also emphasizes a relationship between Delenn and Sinclair that simply doesn't fit with the series as it stands. It is very likely (from hints dropped in Season One) that a Sinclair/Delenn romance was originally intended; but when Sinclair was replaced, that romance was transferred to Sheridan... making the relationship Moretti portrays in this issue seem dramatically awkward. Delenn and Sinclair are friends, and it is perfectly fitting for her to defend him at his trial; I will even allow that, since he is no longer an Earthforce Commander, that she might feel comfortable referring to him by his first name; but the kiss at the end simply doesn't seem in-character for their relationship at this (or, as things went, any other) point in the series.

Ultimately, the interesting elements are muddled by the rushed pace, leaving this the weakest single issue of the comic series to date.

My Final Rating for this issue: 4/10

My Final Rating for the complete 3-part storyarc: 6/10

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