January 2014 has brought along more good news for all fans of "Firefly - Serenity": Joss Whedon and Tim Minear's 2002 tv show featuring Mal Reynolds and his crew of outlaws once again has made it to Dark Horses's sci-fi section. There they have found a home since 2005 starring in a number of series. As great fans of the original, we found it absolutely necessary to read this first issue of Serenity - Leaves on the Wind. After all the tv show had been cancelled far too early, after only 14 episodes. A real shame, considering its great story and character development.
Well, now's the chance to keep up with Joss Whedon's highly underrated space western following the finale of the 2005 movie "Serenity". If you watched the series or at least the film you will probably make the most out of this new issue, even as a novice to the comic books.
To begin with, Zack Whedon's script is once more very well written.
Just like in the Buffy comic books, dialogues fit the characters we all know from Firefly, and the story is not built too complex. You will get a good idea of all the involved parties and their different interests, and backgrounds.
But since the story has developed a little further, we also meet Mal Reynolds and his friends and enemies in a somewhat new constellation.
There is, of course, the unavoidable clichée you will find in almost every piece US-fiction. Obviously today's writers are simply not permitted to go without it: The crazy, fat government guy who labels all people "terrorists", if they don't comply with the system. Well, let's not dwell on that for too long. We'll just acknowledge that Captain Reynolds and his crew aren't simple outlaws anymore - they have now been upgraded to terrorists, fighting the "Alliance". We will just keep calling them "rebels", for the sake of the old Star Wars days.
In this first issue, few things actually happen. The artists mainly prepare the ground for new adventures and lay out a scheme to reunite the scattered group.
At the end of SERENTIY, after finding out about Miranda, Mal and his rebellious crew obviously had to pull a Houdini. In this new comic book series, we meet them some 9 months later and soon find out that some constellations have changed. Hoban "Wash" Washburne is of course still dead, but there's a new crew member arriving. Jayne obviously has left the team to live with his mother, which isn't that much of a surprise, considering Jayne's a girls name. And there's some more spoiler excitement - which shall not be revealed here.
While the writer does an excellent job in characterizing, the artwork unfortunately won't live up to this task.
There are definitely a few characters who are hard to recognize and sometimes even harder to distinguish. Mostly the dialogues will come to your aid, but I'd say there's still room for improvement as far as the artwork is concerned. A much better job could be done in providing the characters with the unique visual design the tv series has already established. It's after all not only speech characteristics - it's also a visual appearance that matters. Especially Kaylee and River get mixed up easily - due to their similar hairstyle - and there are other characters like Simon, who could do with much more individuality, art wise.
The book's print quality, ink, and colours come in good style. Their tonality goes along with what we expect from a modern comic book. Professional – but not exceptional. Here, also, the artists could pick up more of the atmosphere Whedon originally created in his crazy space western.
Still, on the whole, Sernity seems a promising new series. Whedon fans definitely will find a way to re-connect to their favourite Firefly characters.