Sunday, March 15, 2015

Firefly Comics

I really missed the boat on this show. I was pretty much a one fandom nerd while growing up. Well, a two fandom nerd. If it wasn't Doctor Who or Star Trek, I really didn't care. I did like Ewok comics and Batman reruns, but it was pretty one sided still.  I did not get actively excited for many things that did not have to do with Star Trek. I am very disappointed in myself now for this attitude because I missed out on some very cool shows, comics, movies, and books during this period.

I did not start watching Firefly until years after it was cancelled. A friend let me borrow the dvds of the show and movie. About two minutes into the first episode I was hooked.  I love anti-heros. Where would any genre be without them? Malcolm Reynolds is the ultimate anti-hero. He is a rogue space cowboy with a heart of tarnished silver. His patchwork crew fly threw hostile space evading both the law and cannibalistic rapists. The heart of the show is its B story, the Tam siblings and their run from the government. What secrets are trapped in the mind of River Tam? For that matter, what secrets does Shepherd Book hold? No man of God should be that knowledgeable about weapons.

Being a SAHM, most of my funds are nonexistent right now. I pretty much rely on the library and friends for entertainment. A friend let me borrow several Firefly comic books that helped whet my appetite.

I wanted to share some thoughts about the books and hopefully you all will enjoy them, too. If you read them, write a comment. Would love to hear what others thought.

Serenity:Those Left Behind

This very enjoyable story takes place after the television show, but before the movie. 

There are many cameos in this story. We see Badger who mentions Fanty and Mingo. We also see River Tam's pursuers The Hands of Blue  as well as Lawrence Dobson.  If you do not remember him by name, you will by sight. He might not recognize you though since he had his right eye shot out the last time we saw him. We also get our first look at The Operative.

The crew goes on one last mission before Inara and Book depart. Although I really enjoyed this story, I can't write too much about it without giving away the plot. This story bridges the show to the movie flawlessly.

Serenity:Better Days and Other Stories

This book was my favorite out of all three compilations.  

The book opens with Better Days.

Better days is a story that perfectly echoed the rhythm and dialog of the show. There were times when reading it that I wondered if this was perhaps and episode I had somehow missed. The artwork was easily the most realistic out of all the comic books. This is definitely a must read. The Serenity crew finally hits it big. Every character, even River discuss how they are going to spend their fortune.  We also learn which character is already living out their fantasy life.

There is plenty of character development in this story. It is a superbly crafted story. 

The next story is The Other Half.

This story is a fast paced action filled story. There is character development for River Tam. We learn how and why she became a full fledged member of the crew. River and Kaylee are my two favorite characters in Firefly so I may be partial to the story.

The third story is Downtime

I greatly enjoyed this story. This is the second story where the dialog seems lifted from the television show. There is more River Tam character development and she informs Book that she knows a secret of his.

This story shows literal downtime for the Serenity crew. They are between jobs and the ship is planetside.  If it were a show if would have been considered "filler" but it had a good pace and was very enjoyable.

The book ends with Float Out.

I often say being a nerd is it's own reward. I will definitely repeat that many times when discussing nerd things. This story is by the great Patton Oswalt. Patton Oswalt, I love you. No seriously. I love your humor, your standup. I love seeing you guest star on shows I love. I love that you are unabashedly a short nerd from a small town. If you think you are from a small town, let me tell you one day about Cumberland, RI. I read your book, I loved that, too. In a totally non-creepy way I would love to have go out for a beer or two and just chill for a few hours. We all have our heroes and Patton Oswalt is one of mine.

This story is about Wash. It is told mostly in flashbacks to what he did before being a pilot on Serenity.  It ends with a cameo from Zoe. It was a fun, enjoyable story crafted by someone who obviously was excited to write it. 

Ten stars. 

Serenity:The Shepherd's Tale

This story opens on Haven and begins where Shepherd Book's life ends. The story is told backwards, through a series of flashbacks. The story takes us to a time before the events of the show. If you wondered how Shepherd Book found religion in a bowl of chicken soup, the answer will surprise you. Did the peaceful man have a role in the war that shaped Mal? Can we ever be 100% certain what a person's motives are?

It is a story as refreshing as the glass of water the main character speaks poetically of in flashback including Kaylee.

 Normally I do not enjoy origin stories.  Sometimes mysterious characters are better that way. We don't have to unturn every stone. Prequels and backstories are almost obnoxiously popular right now. Patton Oswalt has a joke about the Star Wars prequels that ends with that he doesn't care where the things he loves comes from, he just loves the things he loves. This backstory, however; feels like a love letter from Joss Whedon to all of us.

Just a bit of criticism, not every character has to be abused. This trope is almost predictable now. Frankly, I thought the story could have stopped two pages before it did and be just as entertaining.

Serenity:Leaves on the Wind

To start with, there were these. I always get nervous reading bagged and boarded comics that are not my own.I feel like my hands are going to burn holes through the paper and the spines will spontaneously crack with every page turn.

This series takes place after Serenity: The Motion Picture.

Quick question, what was possibly the most unexpected death of a beloved character in a sci-fi movie based off a tv show? If you answered the surprise impalement of Wash after uttering "I am a leaf on the wind, watch me soar.", you are probably right. (I would say Spock, but we all knew what we were in for when he volunteered to go into a radiation filled room. This death was really out of nowhere.)
This series explores the aftermath of Wash's death on his family. We also see Zoe imprisoned unjustly. Will the Serenity crew go after her?

This series also explores what happened to the rest of the crew. We see Jayne has left Firefly to freelance. Inara and Mal's relationship has changed slightly since we last saw them. There is a new member of the space family as well.

We don't only see what happened to the heroes. My favorite villain returns. It was extremely satisfying to see Kaylee be assertive toward someone who was outlandishly creepy toward her in the past.  Will this be the last time we see them?  I am not sure what category The Operative falls into, but we also see how the events of Serenity affected him.

I have often wondered if there are other Browncoats. Besides us fans of course.  If there are other Browncoats, what would they be like? What about River Tam? Was she the only girl experimented on? What if Simon had not saved his little sister, what would she have become?

This was an extremely good series. The only not so positive thoughts I had was that the conversation style was not quite the same as the show/movie. It was definitely well written, it just lacked some of the magic.