Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Delilah S. Dawson
Artists: Pius Bak, Serg Acuña, Richard Ortiz, Hyeonjin Kim, Rodrigo Lorenzo
Colorists: Joana Lafuente, Doug Garbarkm Natalia Marques
Lettering: Jim Campbell
Release Date: 13th November 2020
BOOM! Studios have been doing a great job with their ongoing Firefly series, carrying the torch from Dark Horse and continuing to breathe new life into the world of Joss Whedon’s cult favourite TV show. More than just the ongoing however, they’re also branching out into self-contained stories from the Firefly universe, with standalone graphic novel “The Sting” hitting shelves a few months ago.
The story is great fun, with popular series antagonist Saffron forcibly “recruiting” Zoe, Kaylee, Inara and River into a diamond heist by threatening to blow up Serenity and its remaining inhabitants. Set between the events of the TV series and the movie, it slots easily into the existing continuity without requiring any prior knowledge and without impacting any future storylines. As such, runs the risk of feel inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but there’s still a lot of great stuff going on here, particularly for fans who want to see the spotlight shine a little brighter on the female members of the Serenity crew.
Writer Delilah S. Dawson does an impressive job of providing a familiar voice for each of the key characters, with fan-favourite Kaylee really standing out with her endearing blend of naivete and optimism (not to mention her healthy appetite). For the most part, each chapter focuses on a single member of the crew, letting them narrate events as they unfold and allowing us to watch the story progress from their perspective. It runs smoothly in the main, although there are a few occasional misfires, such as the bulk of Zoe’s dialogue being reduced to “I’d feel better if I had a gun”, or some variant thereof (that said, her internal monologue more than makes up for it, providing some of the best moments of the book).
It’s a great looking hardcover collection too, although for me, the switching of artists from chapter to chapter feels ever-so-slightly jarring. Granted, perhaps not quite as jarring as switching artists midway through a chapter is, but still. Individually, the artists each do a great job with their own chunk of the story, providing recognisable representations of these fan-favourite characters and a smooth, dynamic flow throughout. Pius Bak and Serg Acuña’s slightly scratchy opening chapters serves as a personal highlight, letterer extraordinaire Jim Campbell provides some much needed consistency with his uniformly great work throughout the book.
A tightly-structured and entirely self-contained story that fits effortlessly into the existing Firefly continuity, “The Sting” is well worth a look for fans of the cult series, or simply those of us who like a good crime caper with some likeable, interesting protagonists.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]