Friday, October 12, 2012

Comic Review: Serenity: Those Left Behind

I saw Firefly a few years ago, enjoyed it, and then watched Serenity and didn't enjoy it. I knew either shortly before or after I saw the movie that, if things had gone according to plan, that plot would have formed the climax of the second season and, given that I'm not sure the show technically finished it's first season, that explained why there was a bit of a disconnect between the two. I also knew that there was a short comic series connecting the two a little better and had read summaries for it before I saw the movie, still didn't help me  but it wasn't until I picked up a flatmate's the Firefly comic book that was laying around my apartment until I actually got a chance to read to read it. As far as I can tell, volume one   is one complete story and there is at least one, possibly, two more volumes in the same vein, although the summaries I read only covered volume one.

Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon, Brett Mathews, and Will Conrad

Summary: Things are the same as usual on Serenity, the crew is down on their luck and has a job to pull off but things don't quite go as planned. But multiple old foes are after them this time so things are about to get a bit tricky.

The Good: One thing that bugged me about the movie was how not only was Inara no longer flying on the Serenity (which came up in the last episode of the show) but Book wasn't either, something that happens here instead so I'm glad to see that addressed. All of the characters got at least a tiny bit of screen time (although it didn't feel like any of them got enough) and even from those little bits of character interaction I could see how and why the characters had changed from the end of the first season to Serenity.

The Bad: Wow was that short, I'm glad to hear that there's at least one more volume in this series since otherwise this doesn't really help bridge Firefly and Serenity at all, there's barely enough story for a full episode in here. Normally I'd be more annoyed at how you have to not only watch the show and movie but also have to read supplementary material to know the full story but, since I know that the story was never meant to be told like that, I'll give them some slack. 

The Art: The art looks basically the way it does on the cover, more realistic than cartoony and it's easy enough to tell which character is which, something I was a bit worried about. It's in full color and it looks just fine. It's not my favorite style of art but, since Firefly was originally a story told in a visual medium, I think that it works much better as a comic than as a novel and the art does work perfectly fine and flows well too.

Sorry for the short review, I have a head cold which is making it a bit hard to think straight right now (the typos I've had to edit out were quite amusing) but honestly with a story this short (Amazon lists this book at 96 pages long and at least 15 of those pages were conceptual sketches/musing for the original series) there's not much else to say. If you liked Firefly read this, if you're new to the franchise, go back to the tv show and see that first, and if I can find the other book(s?) I'll read those as well. I'd also really like to read the comic book about Shepherd Book someday, especially since this story alluded to a bit of his past, but unless I find it at a library or suddenly gain quite a bit of money it's not that high on my list of things to search out.