After a fantastic and tragically terminated single season, Joss Whedon’s Firefly got a big screen treatment. Serenity was not only a great science fiction movie, but a wonderful ending to what is arguably the greatest universe that Whedon has ever created. A little over eight years later, Joss’ brother Zack begins the daunting task of telling us what happened after Captain Mal Reynolds broadcasted the Alliance’s terrible misdeeds against its own people to everyone and their mothers. Is it good?
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Right off the bat, Zack Whedon strikes the substantially realistic tone that was the hallmark of the Firefly television series. Television pundits heatedly argue about whether or not the ‘Miranda’ revelation (Alliance experiments with mood altering chemicals on its own people creating the cannibalistic Reavers) is credible. Much like the opinion driven “news” we have today, the side faced with mounting physical evidence against it responds by shouting their denials even louder. While the debate rages on, however, a rapidly growing resistance within the Alliance’s planets continues to gather steam.
As for the Alliance government itself, they are Snowden-level pissed about the Serenity crew’s universe-wide dissemination of their actions. So far, however, the military’s conventional means of trying to locate them have failed… which inspires the man in charge to utilize a much more dangerous and unsavory method.
“We have no other options…bring in the executives from Fox.”
This also leads to the reemergence of a character that will have fans of the television show squealing with uncontrollable glee (which I totally embarrassed myself doing at a coffee shop).
The resistance movement is also looking for Mal and his crew, but for a completely different reason: They want the former Browncoat to lead their group. Unfortunately for them, Mal and his people clearly don’t want to be found. But after a random tip leads them to a former Serenity crew member, a large bribe pushed in his direction puts the resistance on the right trail.
Aboard the Serenity itself, we’re treated to dialogue and interactions between the crew that not only feels authentic, but also portrays the growth and fallout that has been experienced by all of the characters. Mal and Inara are still at each other’s throats, but they’ve also finally given into to their undeniably strong mutual attraction (and maybe even real love). River is now helping to pilot the ship, showing a great deal more mental stability than she has in the past despite a few hints of the crazy still being present. A very pregnant Zoe continues to drown in an ocean of mourning over Wash’s death, which was something that the Serenity film arguably didn’t devote enough time to showing.
They also kept Wash’s dinosaur collection on display, which I appreciated.
Simon and Kaylee are (as expected) screwing like rabbits, but the fun and games come to a screeching halt when Zoe starts to give birth. What should be a happy moment, however, turns into a terrible decision for Mal to have to make. The rock of his crew had already had her heart and mind broken, but the birthing process’ toll on her body was going to require serious (and life-saving) medical attention…the type you usually have to visit an Alliance-held planet to receive.
Is It Good?
Let’s be honest; a lot of comics that “continue” terminated movie and television franchises don’t measure up to the source material. They can still be very good or even great, but it’s hard to capture the original ‘lightning in a bottle’ charge that a cult franchise’s original creative team and actors provided. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, on the other hand, somehow manages to pull this off with flying colors.
Maybe it’s because Joss Whedon is “executive producing” the series (whatever the heck that means for a comic) and his brother is writing it. Or maybe it’s because the series’ first issue not only takes the movie’s continuation head on, but also delves back into an unresolved plot/character from the television show. But somehow, the dialogue, plotting, and characterization all feel like classic Firefly. Even the stuff that has drastically changed since we last saw Mal and his crew is portrayed in such an organic manner that it never threatens to be brushed off by anger-induced nostalgia.
And even if everything about this issue’s writing wasn’t top-notch (which it is), the incredible artwork by George Jeanty would be worth the price of admission alone. Combine both these great elements together, however, and you have the best first issue to this series that any Firefly fan…or just a fan of great science fiction…could ask for.