There is perhaps no fandom more devoted so long after the series’ end as that for Firefly. While barely more than a dozen episodes long, plus the movie Serenity, its fans continue even now to beg for another season, but while that may never happen, we continue to get comics that continue the story.
Written by Chris Roberson
Illustrated by Georges Jeanty
The ‘verse is a complicated and dangerous place, and Malcom Reynolds and his outlaw crew aboard the Serenity are ever experiencing tough times. When tensions rise among the crew, a call for help becomes a welcome interruption: they must track down a missing friend and the answers to the mystery surrounding her disappearance.
“Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse” is the latest comic carrying on the misadventures of the firefly-class ship Serenity and her crew. The characters viewers know and love are all there (with the exception of those who died during Serenity, of course), and they maintain strong, distinct voices. I could easily read any of Malcolm’s lines in Nathan Fillion’s voice, and every inflection and abbreviation properly conveys each character’s natural way of speaking. As per the show, it’s sprinkled with bits of Chinese (particularly when someone feels the need to swear), and plenty of witty lines.
While the art typically does the same fine job at looking like the characters, there are times when it falls a little short. More often than not the characters do look recognizable as their live-action counterparts, but trying to make comic characters look too much like real people can sometimes have unintended consequences, such as a very creepy look on River’s face when she talks about how Zoe’s baby (Emma) was well-behaved.
However, while I may have some issues with the character art at times, the scenes in outer space are stunning. Directly after the panel with River’s weird expression, we get a beautiful page of ships in flight, docking and flying off against a starry background. The ships, scenery, and space shots look fantastic, more than making up for any other complaints.
While the comic itself is of a perfectly average length, it manages to fit in a few good story moments without affecting the pacing. We get to see the crew in action, learn of their current financial woes (in an amusing moment that reveals exactly what they were stealing), catch up with everyone’s current situation – from Mal and Inara’s relationship to Jayne’s irresponsibility putting Emma at risk – and kick the plot off. All this is done without feeling rushed, and is just the natural flow of the story, each character or plot moment leading to the next as each minute of the day leads to another.
This must be credited to the combination of writer and artist. Chris Roberson wove together the story moments quite well, but Gorges Jeanty captures the flow with his art very well, expanding, shrinking, and spacing apart every panel and scene to properly display the energy and speed of each moment. Even the moments with no dialogue, just shots of the characters as they rest at night, are very telling in their details; Jayne wears his signature hat, Zoe and River tend to Emma, and we get just a small glance from Kaylee towards a sleeping Simon that shows that maybe not all is well between them. These are all good little character moments that help connect them to the audience and set up their feelings and motivations for later down the line.
When the main plot kicks off, we learn new information about the Unification War, and the factions that were formed after the Alliance won. While Mal still wears his brown coat, and fights against the Alliance in his own way, we now learn that others have kept up the fight for even longer, and have taken to less than noble methods (even by Mal’s standards). It expands the ‘verse to the reader, introducing us to more unseen stories and events that shape the world of Firefly. It often seems that the Unification War can be summed up as “Mal and Zoe were on the Browncoats side, the Alliance won, now they’re outlaws,” but in the show and comics alike we keep getting new bits of information that tell us more about why the characters are as they are, and what goes on in the big wide ‘verse they live in.Continued below
And of course, it starts kicking things into gear and tossing in some new turns right as the comic nears its end. I say that not as a spoiler, but to let you know that this is a comic that will hook you and give you reason to pick up the next issue. There’s the makings of a grand adventure here, and fans of the Firefly TV show will undoubtedly want to see where it goes.
After all, no one hangs up their brown coat for good (I say as I casually glance towards the Simon Tam cosplay in my closet).
If you’re a Firefly fan, you’ll want to pick this up. If you’re not a Firefly fan, you’ll be missing out on some important background information, but it may inspire you to watch the show.
Final Verdict: 7.2 – A solid start, with good pacing, character moments, a story that gets you engaged, and art that’s more or less strong throughout.