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November 19, 2009

Princess Powerful Attacks: Serenity-Those Left Behind

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Serenity USA Poster

After reading the novel The Killer Angels and watching Space Westerns, Joss Whedon was inspired to create a sci-fi television series called Firefly in 2002. The series followed the crew of Serenity, which is led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his second-in-command officer, Zoe Washborne. The crew lived day by day on the money they made from cargo runs or smuggling goods for others under the watchful eyes of the Alliance. The show had very low ratings and was later canceled after only airing 11 out of its 14 produced episodes. After the Complete Series of Firefly DVD was released, the small fan base from the original broadcast grew.

Later, Whedon wanted to finish Firefly’s story. After convincing Universal to fund the movie, Joss Whedon was able to write and direct his first feature film called Serenity (AKA Big Damn Movie). In the North American theaters, Serenity premiered on September 30, 2005. It gained modest success in theaters, but later received a larger audience after its DVD release.

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Serenity International Poster

Serenity takes place after the events of Firefly’s last episode, “Objects in Space.”

River is the product of a government learning facility called The Academy.  After her brother Simon helps her to escape, they both become wanted by the Alliance.  They take sanctuary aboard Serenity, but their place of safety doesn’t last too long.

The Alliance sends a man named The Operative to capture River, after the two Blue Hand Agents failed to do so.  The crew of Serenity must band together in order to stop the Alliance from capturing River, and to finally find out why they are after her.

The comic book Serenity – Those Left Behind is a prequel to the film, Serenity. It explains the events after the Firefly episode, “Objects in Space,” which leads up to the film.

The crew of Serenity receives word from Badger about a treasure buried at the Battle of Sturges. Meanwhile, the Two Blue Hand agents acquire the assistance of Agent Dobson to capture River. Agent Dobson was once aboard Serenity to capture River, but was shot in the eye by Mal and left behind on a planet in Firefly’s pilot episode called “Serenity.” The crew must stop Agent Dobson and the Blue Hand agents from succeeding on capturing their crewmate, River Tam.

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Those Left Behind Issue #1 Cover by John Cassady

Title: Serenity – Those Left Behind
Writers: Joss Whedon & Brett Matthews
Art: Will Conrad (Vilmar Nunes Conrado)
Color: Laura Martin
Letters: Michael Heisler
Covers: #1 – John Cassaday, Bryan Hitch, and J.G. Jones (All colors done by Laura Martin); #2 – Joe Quesada with Danny Miki, Jo Chen, and Tim Bradstreet with Grant Goleash (colors by Richard Isanove); #3 – Joshua “Josh” Middleton, Leinil Yu, and Sean Phillips
Issues: #1-3
Pages: 32
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: July-September 2005
Price: $2.99

Side Notes: The single issues can still be found in your local comic book store’s back issue section, or on auction sites like eBay. Later in 2005 and 2007, a trade paperback and hardcover of the three-issue comic were released. The covers were drawn by Adam Hughes, and Sean Phillips drew the back cover for the trade paperback.

The comic book was great. It bridged the events from Firefly to Serenity, but it can leave newcomers lost unless they have watched the series previously. The writing felt like a continuation of a Firefly episode, yet it didn’t reintroduce the main cast to the reader.

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Book: “Oh Lord, You are obviously aware that I assist You in doing Your work; oh why must there be such trouble for me?”

The Chinese language intermixed with English was harder to decipher than the series.  The Firefly-Serenity Chinese Pinyinary website has the Mandarin dialogue from the franchise translated into English.  It was a big help for me, since I don’t know that language.

The artwork for the comic was spectacular. I adored the technique of soft paintings with sharp outlines used in the book. My only complaint was that Simon and Dobson didn’t bear any resemblance to their portrayers Sean Maher and Carlos Jacott. In some panels, the faces were drawn awkwardly. The story left me with a few unanswered questions, like where that second Blue Hand agent came from when only one was shown attacking the crew previously.

The three issues had various covers depicting the 9 main characters of Serenity. My favorite covers were drawn by Jo Chen, Sean Phillips, and Tim Bradstreet. The others were decent, but they didn’t attract as much as those covers previously mentioned.

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Jayne Cobb, 2477-???

Serenity -Those Left Behind was a great book to read.  It explained why the main characters Inara and Shepard Book parted ways with the crew, and it provided the film’s set up.  Also, the comic felt as if it prepped the reader for the movie’s tone.

I highly recommend this book to all fans of Serenity.

This review is dedicated to Jayne Cobb, the Hero of Canton.

“Can’t Stop the Signal.”

Princess Powerful
princesspowerful@comicattack.net

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8 Comments



  1. Loved the series and the movie. will def have to check this out though i usually stay away from movie tie in books


  2. billy

    I thought the trailers for this looked good but honestly I’m not a big JW fan. (I know I’m gonna hear it about this)LOL



  3. “You can’t take the sky from me!”


  4. eli

    Such an awesome movie. My wife turned me onto it before we were married and it’s definitely still in our “rotation” at home. This might just be the first “movie” book that I ever buy.


  5. infinite speech

    my girl is the one that got me to start watching Firefly Eli lol guess we should listen more often! I definitely appreciated the movie more after finishing the series.



  6. Yes Billy, you’ll be hearing from me about it.

    I also suggest the novelization. It’s super awesome. You’re able to read everybody’s thoughts, know the backstory on Mr. Universe, and how they got the mule (amongst other things). I think it’s practically or is cannon even though it’s fiction.



  7. […] my previous review, I discussed the origins of the television series Firefly.  It was created by Joss Whedon, who is […]



  8. […] is the third volume to be released by Dark Horse that continues the Serenity saga. Released after Those Left Behind and Better Days, the aptly named The Shepherd’s Tale tells the back story of, well, Shepherd. […]



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