Even though the final episode aired way back in 2003, the geek community still unites in solidarity over the tragic cancelation of Firefly. With Serenity, we did get a major motion picture that continued the story for a blissful 119 minutes, but that’s not nearly enough to make up for the painful what ifs. Dark Horse began publishing Serenity comics a while back, continuing their partnership with Joss Whedon who also writes and oversees continuations of his shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Dollhouse with the company, in addition to producing new works. Those comics were all either one-off spotlights on supporting characters or fun stories set between the series and the movie that tread lightly on continuity, because they can’t really push the story forward because we’ve already seen what happens next.
That all changed with last year’s new Serenity series, Leaves on the Wind by Zach Whedon (screenwriter on Fringe and Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and brother of creator Joss Whedon), Georges Jeanty (a familiar face for Whedon fans, best known as artist of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight and Season Nine), Karl Story on inks, Laura Martin on colors, Michael Heisler on letters, and – the credit that will appease all of the die-hard Browncoats – Joss Whedon “executive producing,” which here means overseeing it all the same was he does with the Buffy comic. It’s an all-star team to be sure, but the most exciting thing about this six-issue miniseries is that it functions as a direct sequel to Serenity. Finally, this ship is moving forward and it’s not looking back.
The fallout from Serenity is a primary focus here, as Zach Whedon effortlessly picks up threads from his brother’s hit movie. At the end of the flick, Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew exposed an atrocity that the Alliance had committed, leaking footage from Miranda, a planet that had been destroyed by a government experiment that went awry. An overwhelming amount of the populace lost the desire to tend to their basic needs, which wiped out almost all of the planet. Those who survived suffered a decidedly opposite effect – they became Reavers, the mysterious, almost inhuman cannibals that terrorized space through much of Firefly. Leaves on the Wind shows the ‘Verse at large reacting to the Miranda footage, which was the biggest blow against the Alliance since they won the war. Many are trying to write Miranda off as illogical conspiracy, while others are acting on the revelation. While Mal and his crew, now the most wanted fugitives in existence, flee into the darker corners of space, a group called the New Resistance is taking up their cause.
I liked the previous Serenity comics enough, but I felt they never properly sated my desire for more of these characters. The Buffy and Angel comics felt more like the show – they felt like they were the next logical journey of the characters, and made me feel as if I was spending time with old friends. Me and the Buffyverse crew, we didn’t miss a beat. Not so with Serenity… until now. It’s almost bittersweet that the comics are moving on, as it very likely means that there is little to no hope for a follow-up movie… but, and I don’t say this lightly, these comics? They kinda make that all right. It’s still sad that we’re not getting more Firefly or another Serenity flick, but man – this comic really, truly feels like another movie. I was completely won over by every aspect of this story, from the dialogue, to the characters, even the nuances of the pacing. It all felt so very Firefly. It’s less “the comic book adventures of Mal and friends” and more “this is the next Serenity movie which just happens to be on paper instead of in your local theater.” It might not be the exact same, but you know what? It does feel like sharing drinks with old friends and catching up with their latest adventures… and these old friends have a hell of a lot to say.
PAT SHAND is a comic book writer (Robyn Hood, Charmed, Angel) and pop culture journalist (Blastoff Comics, Sad Girls Guide). When he’s not writing geeky things or writing about geeky things, he is a leaf on the wind. Watch how he –