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Serenity #3

Posted: Saturday, September 10, 2005
By: Ray Tate



Writers: Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews
Artists: Will Conrad, Laura Martin(c)
Publisher: Dark Horse

All the Rage reported the rumor that a ghostwriter using the name of Joss Whedon wrote the latest disappointing story arc Astonishing X-Men. The drop in quality of the book certainly makes me think the rumor contains more than a grain of truth. Astonishing X-Men seems to be written by a competent but mediocre writer inclined to recycle old Star Trek plots.

Joss Whedon wrote Serenity.

Whereas “Dangerous” or whatever the heck it was called was slow and uninvolving. Serenity is rapid-paced entertainment that leaves you wanting more. Thus it works as a stand-alone mini-series and a taste of honey before we finally whet our appetites in theaters.

Astonishing X-Men based its story on a ridiculous threat. Just a damn robot that the X-Men should have been able to put away before breakfast. Serenity pits the crew against the series’ creepy baddies—the strange creatures with hands of blue intent on capturing River—as well as a character holding a grudge against Mal. This offers another parallel and contrast. The ham-fisted combination in Astonishing X-Men of stupid robot and Sentinel was forced. The team-up in Serenity exists as a natural extension of the villains’ behavior and the frontier-like atmosphere.

Astonishing X-Men's last arc made the title characters seem dull, but in Serenity every character sounds as they did on Firefly. While there’s little character development in Astonishing X-Men, unless you actually believe Emma Frost is returning to the dark side of the Force. In Serenity despite the difference in medium, the characters do grow without disturbing the status quo left by Firefly.

While there was absolutely no point to the last arc of Astonishing X-Men, Serenity has a point. The mini-series introduced these substantial, resonant characters and the Western-based universe in which they live to those who never saw them before. At the same time, Serenity did not bore the faithful Browncoats. Instead, it provided a shiny new episode of Firefly comic book form.



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