If you ask most geeks about the greatest nerdy tragedy ever, odds are you’ll get an answer that involves the word Firefly. For those of you who don’t know, Firefly was a Joss Whedon show that aired on Fox in an awful timeslot. Despite being a truly amazing show, poor ratings caused Fox to cancel it after only a few episodes. However, it had a strong fan following and did well enough on DVD to get a movie, Serenity, made. The movie wrapped up most of the major plot points from the show in a fairly satisfactory manner, but fans to this day wonder what might have been.
Thank goodness for the comics though. They’ve expanded the Firefly universe beyond the show and movie, explaining the back stories of characters and letting us see more adventures aboard the shiniest spaceship to ever travel the ‘verse. Serenity, vol. 1: Those Left Behind, in particular, helps to bridge the gap between the show and the film very nicely, explaining why the characters who left the ship in between the show and the movie did so, and cleaning up a loose end from the pilot episode. To say much more would be spoilers.
The art on this is mercifully well done. It can be a problem when artists try to draw characters that are usually seen in live action by real people. They tend to make them look so realistic that the drawings stand out from the comic. Mercifully that is not the case here. You can clearly tell who each character is, but they don’t look like portraits of actors inserted into a comic. The comic, much like the show on which it was based, is aimed at teens and older. There’s nothing awful in it, save for a fair amount of violence.
Honestly, this is a fantastic comic. The one problem is that if you’re not already a fan of Firefly it won’t make much sense to you. The comic assumes you’ve already seen the show and movie and thus doesn’t spend time introducing any of the characters or explaining the universe it’s set in. That said, Firefly is wonderful show and if you haven’t seen it yet you should. And when you’re done watching it you have a comic all set and ready to go.
Serenity, vol. 1: Those Left Behind
by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews
Art by Will Conrad
Dark Horse, 2012