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Shadows Past and Present, Part 4: Silent Enemies, by Tim DeHaas

Both stories, past and present, come to a climax in the final installment of the 4-part comics' arc.


Garibaldi, increasingly convinced of a link between his present plight and his past mission on Mars, recalls for Keffer the rest of his first mission with Sinclair.

Finding their way to the location of a crashed Shadow ship, Sinclair and Garibaldi discover Psi Corps conducting secret experiments - experiments involving captive telepaths. There is no chance for the two to investigate, however. On their own and low on oxygen, they have barely enough time to simply escape. And by the time they find their way back to the site, everything they saw has vanished, leaving only one trace: a single Psi-Corps badge.

In the present, Keffer and Garibaldi find themselves captives of the Centauri, under suspicion of espionage. They have only one chance to evade execution: the good word of the very man Garibaldi was attempting to intercept - Londo Mollari!


Both stories reach a climax in this installment, and manage to do so in a very absorbing manner.

The stronger of the two stories is the flashback plot, featuring Sinclair and Garibaldi's mission. The scenes around the crashed Shadow ship, as Garibaldi attempts to blend in with the Psi Corps, are quite gripping. The panels featuring Shadow machinery surrounded by unconscious telepaths are as unnerving as I suspect mainstream DC standards and practices would allow for (though I can't help but snicker a bit at the artfully-placed towel draped over the nude telepaths' waists). Some very eerie visuals, that nicely foreshadow some of the series' later revelations. Meanwhile, a final revelation paves the way very nicely for the events of Divided Loyalties.

Even more importantly, we see the genesis of Garibaldi's recovery. This issue shows us the moment in which he begins to turn his life around. It's not when he saves Sinclair's life; it's just a few, simple words by Sinclair to this broken-down old pilot: "You may be the only one I can trust." Trust was clearly something to which this Garibaldi was not accustomed. Finding trust extended to him by a near-stranger, probably for the first time since his friendship with Frank Kemmer... for Garibaldi, this was obviously a very powerful gesture. Garibaldi's highly competent response during the crisis provides a good explanation as to why Sinclair later entrusted him with Babylon 5's security. We know from Babylon Squared that the two men had only met twice before. Obviously, Garibaldi impressed Sinclair even more on the second occasion. Too bad there's no story accompanying that second meeting. I suspect it would be just as good a story as this was.

Finally, in the present-day story, I enjoyed the scenes with Londo and Vir. Vir's attempts to save Garibaldi without Londo's knowledge speak volumes about his growing character. Vir is loyal to Londo, but he is also a strong believer in doing the right thing, something he has long since learned he cannot trust Londo to do. Londo's response when he does walk in on the conversation provides assurance that the likable Season One Londo still exists underneath the ever-darkening surface... though the brief moment between him and Morden that follows reminds us that the darkness within him is growing, not shrinking. At this point, Vir, along with his gradually weakening friendship with Garibaldi, may be all that holds him back from the brink of being truly irredeemable.


What happened to the aliens from the last installment? We saw one of them using mind-control powers against Keffer, before being shot by Garibaldi. That should have left several aliens for Garibaldi and Keffer to face in this issue. I was rather looking forward to some climactic encounter. Instead, the Garibaldi/Keffer plot gets hastily resolved when they are captured by the Centauri. It seems like an additional five pages was called for, in order to utilize all the elements of the 4-issue arc. Instead, the aliens appear simply to have been quietly "dropped" between episodes.

My Final Rating for Part 4: 8/10

My Final Rating for Shadows Past and Present: 9/10. By far the best arc the comic series has seen to date. A pity that the comics series ended so soon after; based on these 4 issues, it was finally finding its feet when the plug was pulled on it.

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