With Dark Horse’s eagerly anticipated Serenity mini-series finally hitting shelves this coming Wednesday, the BCP Review Team was seemingly on the verge of a Reaver-esque free-for-all to decide just who would earn the right to review it. So in an attempt to keep the blood loss to a minimum, we decided to try something new, and proudly introduce to your the first ever BCP Group Review!
No less than seven members of our review team have taken a look at the title, and are excited to provide you with their spoiler-free comments below.
So, is the return of Mal and the crew of Serenity worth the wait? Let’s find out…
“I could go the fanboy route and give the book over-the-top praise, or I could deliberately say it’s ‘meh’ in the hope of sounding like I don’t really care that much, but honestly, I really enjoyed Leaves on the Wind #1. There’s enough to keep fans satisfied for the first issue in a series, and although the uninitiated may not be familiar with the characters, they are still as accessible as they always were. The call-backs to ‘Serenity’ are there, as expected, but after catching up on events, Zack Whedon is quick to move things forward, rather than re-tracing old ground. Georges Jeanty’s artwork won’t blow you away, but I don’t think it will put people off, either. The characters’ faces are far from photo-realistic, but anyone who has read my recent ‘Star Trek’ reviews will know I’m never a fan of that anyway. The art does still do its job, though, and honestly, this franchise will always be about the characters for me anyway. I’ll happily go along for the ride.”
“I really didn’t know what to think going into this book, I was a massive fan of all things brown coat and still am (I used to use the stage name “Hero of Canton”) so I really wanted to like it, but at the same time was wary about it continuing so long after the series had finished. The story outline of the issue was pretty much perfect, from the opening dialogue, to the final scene its very clear that the Serenity is flying high again. Zack Whedon manages to perfectly capture what made these characters instantly likeable and relatable, making it feel like its barely been gone at all. The art, however, fell slightly flat for me, while landscapes and facial expressions were spot on, body proportions were off and oddly distracting and certain characters just didn’t have the same “look” I felt they should have.
Over all, it was the emotional rollercoaster I expected, was well written and for the most part looked the part. Dark horse have done what we all hoped and proved once and for all that you can’t stop the signal.”
“Browncoats rejoice! The adventures of Cap’n Mal and his crew continue in this new comic set after the events of 2005’s cult film Serenity.
The diverse artwork captures the fusion of cowboy myth and Asian culture familiar to fans of the TV show and the Firefly universe and characters remain recognisable throughout.
However it’s in the writing where this book really soars. Capturing the rhythm of the original show’s dialogue and crackling with the same wit and irreverence, this feels like an unseen episode from an unfilmed second series.
Mal Reynolds is back to fight the good fight (and maybe make a little cash on the side while he does) and it’s gorram shiny.”
“The Space Western is back! Finally, we get to see what happens after Serenity and best of all – it feels right!
The dialogue is packed with familiar slang and stuffed with character; you can genuinely ‘hear’ the characters talk. The locations, particularly the space settings look beautiful and the clash of American/Chinese culture is captured perfectly.
Sadly, the characters themselves look a bit rough; especially when it comes to facial expression. It’s a shame Captain Mal won’t make you laugh with his eyes alone. Still, it sounds right to me.”
“I’d been anticipating this book since I read the Float Out one-shot in 2010, and was beginning to worry it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Luckily the story itself didn’t disappoint, offering up a strong foundation for the rest of the arc, with plenty to satisfy the fans. Zack Whedon has done a stellar job of capturing the personalities of our Big Damn Heroes, making it hard to believe its been so long since we last saw them on-screen. The book will have you reliving parts of the movie like they happened yesterday, emotional turmoil and all.
Unfortunately though, the art almost ruined my reading experience. The characters we know and love just didn’t look like themselves, to the point where it actually distracted me from the story. Mal in particular seemed to just have a generic male face template through most of the issue.
Overall though I did enjoy this issue. Thankfully the story is promising enough to outweigh my dissatisfaction with the art. As a long time fan of the series, its so good to see that despite everything, Serenity is still flying.”
“Okay, so where to begin? First off, as you’d most likely expect, Zack Whedon’s writing fits the tone of the show perfectly, and makes this book a joyously familiar experience. All the characters seem true to their on-screen counterparts, and the sense of drama is ramped up to eleven as we finally get to see how things play out after the events of the Serenity movie.
As sharp as Whedon’s writing is however, I felt that it lacked some of the sense of humour that was – to me – one of the main selling points of the show. There were a few flashes of the charm that had made the series so appealing, but it all just a little… bleak… to me, for the most part.
Jeanty’s artwork is solid enough, capturing the feel of the show and doing a passable job in recreating the show’s stars without going too hard into the ‘photorealistic’ mode. Overall, this was an enjoyable return to one of Sci-Fi’s most beloved franchises, and – a few minor niggles aside – is well worth your hard-earned money.”
“Can I give a 2.5? Because this is a 2.5 book.
I like Firefly. I don’t love Firefly, but I like it. It never matched the heights that the first season of Buffy managed but it never sunk as low as S1 of Dollhouse. It had potential – bucket loads of potential. A western set it space, created by Joss Whedon? How could it NOT have potential? It’s understandable then, given that it only got one season and a movie, that the fanbase is somewhat voracious – desperate for any new material set in that universe and it’s frankly astonishing that Whedon et al. held off this long to do a Firefly Season 2 in comicbook form. Maybe they should have waited a bit longer.
The whole affair feels like Serenity fanfiction (no offense to all you fanfickers out there!) It lacks an air of canonicty – there’s an overwhelming sense that, had we gotten a post-Serenity Season 2 that this is not what that would have been. But let’s not rag on the book for what it isn’t – that’s bad form. The writing is decent – most characters sound like themselves. The pacing is a bit slower than I’d like. I usually love getting-the-band-back-together stories but this focuses too much on the ancilliary character to have a greater impact. If you enjoyed Jeantys art on Buffy S8 then he’s doing familiar work here – it didn’t quite click for me (the uncanny valley effect is in full swing here) but short of doing the book Fumetti style I doubt there’s any artist who could have replicated the actors any better. Oh, and he sure does draw some pretty spaceships! You can feel the lack of Joss in this issue, much like the first issue of Angel: After The Fall but that still turned out pretty great. It’s fitting that the thing this book has is potential. Let’s hope it really live up to what the Firefly show could have been, god knows the browncoats deserve it!”
So there you have it. And if you’re still in need of convincing, here’s a preview of some of the interior art, courtesy of Dark Horse.com;