(w) Greg Pak (a) Dan McDaid (c) Marcelo Costa
Having been in the capable hands of Dark Horse Comics for years, Joss Whedon’s space-western has moved over to BOOM! Studios with the launch of Firefly #1. From writer Greg Pak and artist Dan McDaid, the whole crew of Serenity is here in what is a strong and faithful continuation of the cult-classic television. That means a lot of sci-fi action, a lot of horses, and a lot of quips.
It’s worth pointing out that the name of this book is Firefly, unlike the previous books from Dark Horse which were published under the Serenity banner, after the movie of the same name. While there’s likely a business reason behind this (20th Century Fox does own a stake in BOOM! Studios), in truth the name itself is a big draw to the book. Fans of the show may have enjoyed the movie Serenity as consolation prize to the television show being canned, but a true continuation of the adventures of Mal, Zoe, and the others in long-form storytelling is what was truly coveted. Greg Pak at the helm, readers are treated to a welcome, and for the most part satisfying, return to this world.
Pak is no stranger to tackling beloved cult properties, having written the delightful Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York miniseries. Just as he did with those two iconic Kurt Russell characters, Pak absolutely nails the characterization of this ensemble, which in all honesty is the major appeal of the franchise. Their exchanges in dialogue are snappy but authentic, making it easy to quickly identify with the characters and buy into this world. Even though there is a surprising amount of lore for a 14-episode television show, Pak’s script finds the balance in appeasing die-hard fans while welcoming the uninitiated.
Adding to the welcoming spirit of this issue is Dan McDaid’s artwork and Marcelo Costa’s colors, who give readers a fully realized, lived in world. Costa’s colors in particular help flesh out the world, from the dark, cool tones of outer space and the industrial ships to the warm earth tones of a nearby moon. Meanwhile, McDaid does a good enough job of capturing the likeness of the show’s various actors, though there are moments when the expressions are genuinely wonky. But aside from that minor quirk, there is very little to complain about.
The plot of the issue is solid enough. The crew of Firefly-class transport ship Serenity are chased by attackers and are forced to take refuge on a nearby moon. As a result, shenanigans ensue, including a debate involving the importance of using OEM parts versus aftermarket in vehicle maintenance. It’s a decent setup for things to come, but not much beyond that. The real strength lies in the PTSD given to Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a war veteran on the losing side. Though briefly glimpsed at here, it looks to play a bigger role as the series marches on.
Firefly #1 is a damn fine opening chapter, and a welcome return to a beloved property. There is plenty of action and Whedon-esque dialogue to satisfy a broad spectrum of readers. With a more-than-capable creative team and a solid foundation to build upon, the future looks bright for the Captain Mal and his crew.