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Graphic Novel Review

Dark Horse Books's Serenity: Those Left Behind & Better Days
Meet old friends. Reminisce on futuristic adventures.


Graphic Novel Review , 23 March 2009 by Eilonvi



If you are a fan of the Firefly series like myself, then reading this comic, would probably feel at first, like meeting long gone and much missed old friends. Being as addicted to the "Firefly", you are inclined to be forgiving to the apparent flaws in this comic, which evidently, is far less everything comparing to the tv series. If you're not a fan, I'm guessing you might find the story difficult to relate to, since you will not be getting all the little jokes and references, known to someone who watched the series.


The comic series reunites us with the amazingly lovable Serenity cargo ship, its crew members, and their captain Malcolm Reynolds. The story takes off somewhere in the timeline after the tv series had ended, and before the movie Serenity catches up. We enter the wild west style colonies, in the dusty outskirts of known alliance space.


For those of you unfamiliar with the "Firefly", you should know that the Serenity crew members do not commonly operate on the legal side of the law. In fact, they would take any job they can get on the rim worlds. To be precise, not any job. It has to be honest thievery, with some decent percentage of profit.


The first volume of Serenity "Those left behind" begins with the firefly action trio - Mal, Zoe and Jayne (Jayne's a big guy with a girl's name) involved in a familiar situation; their faces upfront bad guys' guns, coin in stake. A job gone bad forces them to leave the planet, in a hasty manner. Meanwhile, a past enemy of Mal's, who they thought was dead (Agent Dobson from the original Serenity pilot), is much alive and obsessed with killing Mal - something about Mal shooting him in the eye and dumping him to die on Whitefall moon (he really had it coming). This guy teams up with the creepy Alliance agents (Two by two, hands of blue). They track the Serenity spaceship up to the deserted battlefield of sturges, where an alleged treasure was left buried during the war.


Shepherd Book, the down to earth preacher, and Inara, the beautiful companion for hire (a respectful occupation in Firefly's 'verse), are still on board the serenity. Inara leaves the ship though, at the end of volume one, due to unresolved issues between her and Mal.


In the second volume of Serenity, "Better Days", we are taken further back in time, to somewhere before the first volume. A really successful job makes the crew rich beyond their dreams, for a short while. Richly enough, they travel to a luxurious resort planet, where they indulge themselves in their fantasy plans for how they would spend their fortune. Not all is rosy though, and violence is sure to wake them all up from their day dreaming.


As nice as it would be, to become more familiar with the past and secret cravings of your favorite characters, the comic book falls short of expectations. Firstly it does not reveal any new substantial or interesting piece of information on the characters. Secondly the script is far from being as amusing and shrewd as it was in the tv series.


The mysterious pasts of Inara and Shepherded book were not revealed, and relationships between characters were not enriched nor evolved beyond what we already know.


The overall feeling was that I had just had a low fat skinny version of the Firefly.


The drawings in the comic book intend to look as similar as possible to firefly's actors and do a decent job at it. The first volume includes vivid cover art work from various artists that portray the Serenity crew members. The second volume though, contains some cover art that I did not like at all. It looks as if someone drew black lines on a real photograph, to create a clumsy collage. The first volume features an introduction by Nathan Fillion (Mal) and the second volume by Adam Baldwin (Jayne).


If you do intend to read this comic, and wish to enjoy it even a little bit, Do yourself a favor and watch the firefly series first, maybe even the movie. It's really a prerequisite for enjoying the comic.


Serenity: Those Left Behind & Better Days
Serenity: Those Left Behind & Better Days
Comics Info

Collects issues 1-3 of "Those left behind" and "Better Days"
Published: Serenity 1: January 2006, Serenity 2: October 2008
Language: English
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Serenity volume 1 on Dark Horse Books web site
Serenity volume 2 on Dark Horse Books web site
Pages: 80 each volume
Writer: Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews
Artist: Will Conrad
Colorist: volume 1: Laura Martin, volume 2: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Michael Heisler

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