Fellow Browncoats! The time for celebration, for jubilation, for exclamation is now. Firefly is BACK! Okay, so it’s not “back” back (that’s called a hook, kids), but for the first time in a long time the story of a Firefly named “Serenity” continues on, courtesy of the kind folks at Dark Horse Comics. It’s been eight (eight!) years since Mal and the gang last took flight, and for those who remember (i.e., everyone), things didn’t necessarily end well, with a number of issues left unresolved and frustratingly open ended. Well Firefly fans, your prayers have been answered, as writer Zach Whedon, artist Georges Jeanty, and producer Joss something-or-other introduce the next chapter in the Firefly mythos with their six issue mini, Serenity: Leaves On The Wind.
The story picks up mere months after the exposure of the events on Miranda. The ‘verse, reeling from the revelation of the Reavers’ origin, has split in two; those who stand by the Alliance and scoff at any and all accusations, and those who see through the muck with open eyes, determined to fight for change. The only thing the two sides have in common? An interest in the last known whereabouts of one Malcolm Reynolds and his intrepid crew. Of course, we all know how difficult it is to locate a Firefly that doesn’t want to be found….
Before I go any further, let me allay any misgivings you might have. This IS Firefly, everything from the snappy dialogue to the rich characterization familiar and welcoming. Writer Whedon does a nice job of holding true to the source material while also allowing the characters room to grow. The crew sound and feel like you’d expect, but they’ve changed some as well, the events of Serenity heavy on their collective hearts. We get some new developments in regards to certain couplings, as well as some completely new surprises that are sure to set Browncoats aflutter. Whedon also offers a glimpse of what’s happening elsewhere in space, as we see the two different factions working towards their own means. One new addition, an as of yet unnamed female, is particularly memorable, with all signs pointing to her being a major player down the road. Whedon appears delighted to bring the world of Firefly back to life, his energy palpable to the very last page.
Artist Georges Jeanty has the tougher job of the two featured creators, his artistic freedom stifled a bit by fan’s familiarity of the ship and its inhabitants. That said, he does a wonderful job bringing the familiar back to life, his depictions of the ship and the crew mostly spot on. Though not every face is a perfect representation of their real life counterparts, Jeanty makes up for it with expressions and mannerisms, everything from Mal’s intense skepticism to River’s unwavering focus artfully depicted. His vision of the ‘verse is well realized, as even new locales feel right at home within the canon we’ve come to expect. There’s a lot of standing around in this first issue, but the final pages showcase the artist’s ability to craft the enjoyable action sequences the original series was known for. With the introduction of a forgotten menace (and the health of a shipmate in question) one can only guess what kind of shenanigans await the crew as the story progresses.
In the end, Leaves On The Wind proves a welcome return to a dearly beloved series, though thus far it remains restrained in scope. Whedon and Jeanty have their players in motion, putting them on a path that almost certainly will lead to trouble. With issue #1 the familiar is new again, and, much like a leaf on the wind, this series soars.