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Serenity #1

Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



Writers: Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews
Art: Will Conrad
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Michael Heisler
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
$2.99 U.S.

Plot:
The book opens Mal, Jayne and Zoe drawing a bad hand, as they find their profits from a job being stolen by another group of thieves, but this doesn't stop the local population from blaming Mal and company for the missing items. As they beat a hasty retreat from this planet we see the crew isn't exactly pleased that they've walked away from yet another job with nothing to show for it. Meanwhile we see a pair of sinister individuals look to be gunning for Mal and his crew.

Comments:
Like most people who picked up this book I'm already a confirmed card carrying fan of Firefly, and after my comic shop guy assured me that this wasn't the movie adaptation, but rather it was an original story, I snapped up the comic so quickly that I was kicking myself that I didn't put it back on the shelf and pick up the issue that featured Jayne (my favourite character) on the cover. Still, I've been following this series since it first appeared on Fox, and it was one of the first and only DVD purchases that I've made (I'm a firm believer in the concept of renting). I'll also be the first in line when the movie is released, so the idea of a new story involving the Serenity crew in comic book form sounded like the near perfect merging of two great things. However, much like the "Evil Dead" comics I have to say that I walked away from this first issue a little disappointed that I didn't enjoy the comic book version as much as was I expecting to. I mean I consider Firefly to be one of the best sci-fi series that I've come across, and this comic manages to capture the key ingredients of the series, as the personalities of the various characters are well represented, and we find the crew in their normal position of being in grave danger, as the book opens with a job that has gone south, and the final page offers up the return of one of the more unsettling elements from the series. However, the simple fact of the matter is that this comic seems to be so invested in offering up the big action that the element that made me a fan of the series was short-changed, and the action is hardly innovative enough to make me forgive the lack of character interaction. I mean there's a nice little bit between Jayne and Malcolm as they discuss the idea that they didn't get paid for this job, and there's also a nice Mal/Inara exchange in the final pages of this issue, but frankly I think I'd have been happier if this issue had dropped its plot-by-numbers action sequences, and instead used these pages to offer up the cast sitting around the mess.

Since I've already made a fuss about the fact that I missed out of the Brian Hitch's Jayne cover, I will say that J.G. Jones managed to appease me somewhat with a lovely Inara cover, and I also have to say I love the cover logo design. As for the interior art I have to say Will Conrad does a pretty good job of capturing the look of the characters, as all the characters are instantly recognizable, with a nice attention to the little details such as Wash's colourful shirts and the little designs on Kaylee's coveralls. Now there are some elements of unnecessary confusion during the action, as the scene where we see Zoe deals with Jayne's errant grenade wasn't as clearly detailed as it could've been. However, the art does offer up some lovely images in this issue, from the one page spread where we see the water tower is used to wipe out the group that were chasing our heroes, to the disquieting element of the final pages as fan of the series are sure to take notice of a certain piece of clothing that these characters are sporting.



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