‘Serenity: Leaves On The Wind’ is the latest in the on-going series of comics devoted to the story of Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of the Serenity. For those unfamiliar with the world of Firefly (gasp!), these comics are all that remain of a beloved TV show ‘Firefly’ that died too quick a death and a movie, Serenity, that wrapped up the dangling plot threads in a way that excited and frustrated. Until now, the comics have been limited to mini-series, single issues and short stories that cover events between the TV series and movie, and the back stories of the characters. No more. ‘Leaves On The Wind’ finally takes fans where they’ve been waiting to go: forward.
Written by Zach Whedon (brother to ‘Firefly’ creator, Joss Whedon), ‘Leaves On The Wind’ begins with a brief ‘state of things’ that catches up the erstwhile fan while setting the scene. The comic picks up the story approximately eight months after the end of the movie. It’s probable a newcomer could glean enough information from these brief paragraphs to get into the story. Some new comics begin with less.
Mal Reynolds is a wanted man. He and his crew exposed a secret many died to keep. As the comic begins, a televised debate ponders his whereabouts and the veracity and effect of his discovery, that the Alliance may be responsible for the marauding Reavers. Another experiment gone wrong.
The loosely formed resistance is also looking for Mal, but not so they can condemn him. They need a leader.
After catching up with the state of affairs and numbering a few of the parties out looking for Mal Reynolds and his crew, we check in with the crew of Serenity. The tension of hiding out with dwindling supplies is obvious. Tempers waver between irritable and despondent and Zoe is ready to pop, not in the regular sense, she’s very pregnant. (Not a spoiler as the Dark Horse blurb states she’s pregnant.)
Cut to the search for Mal and a ghost from the past makes an appearance.
Then we check in on Jayne, who is conspicuously absent from the Serenity. Looks like he cut and ran for home. I don’t know why. The resistance comes calling and they’re looking for Mal and think he can help. They make an offer he can’t refuse.
Notes on the art: I like the cover art. Mal looks a bit smooth and a little too concerned, but after missing him for years, it’s good to see that familiar face. Inside, the art is all right. It’s a comicbook art, so not always tight. Most of the characters are reasonable facsimiles that fade in and out depending on the level of detail in each panel. Zoe is the best drawn. Unfortunately, Mal doesn’t often look like Mal. I actually wondered if he was Jayne at first. Yep. There are a couple panels where his features are clear. That’s always the trade-off when it comes to comics derived from movies, TV and video games. The characters never quite look like those onscreen. The dialogue felt a little off in places as well. This could be a matter of Zach Whedon getting to know the voices.
All in all, I liked the comic. I relished the opportunity to sink back into a world that, despite the brevity of existence, is fully-fleshed and just waiting for stories. Much of this issue was given over to set-up. The seeds of the next chapter have been laid, but it’s obvious there is more going on. Why did Jayne leave the ship? How will Zoe cope with motherhood while obviously still mourning her late husband? Unforgivably, Whedon killed Wash in the movie. Who will catch up with Mal first: the resistance, the ghost from the past or one of the multitude of others looking to cash in on the bounty?
There is also the on-going story of the universe to consider. The Alliance experiments and the backlash of gruesome discovery. As a fan, I can’t help but read forward and given the success of previous Serenity comics, I’m sure I won’t be alone.
(pub: Dark Horse Comics. 32 page comicbook. Price: $ 3.50 (US). ASIN: B00HZUSX5C)