Comic Review: Serenity: Leaves on the Wind Part 1 (Dark Horse)

It’s been eight years since Serenity (Don’t you feel old now?). But Dark Horse is out to provide the illusion that it’s been mere moments. Has it? Well ,you tell […]

It’s been eight years since Serenity (Don’t you feel old now?). But Dark Horse is out to provide the illusion that it’s been mere moments. Has it? Well ,you tell me how vividly you remember the ending. It might as well have come out last year with how much this continuation was anticipated. Personally I thought that it ended well, and that wishing for more was useless. Regardless, here we are with more, and I’d be crazy to say that somewhere deep in the black of my mind there wasn’t a small glimmer of hope that I would get to experience it.  Leaves on the Wind bar

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind Part 1 is set an indeterminate amount of time after the events of the movie Serenity. The alliance has retaliated to the crew’s “attack” the best way that a corrupt government can. With media. We start with a televised debate of a general point-counterpoint talk show. This has become a sort of mainstay in comics trying to build a tense atmosphere of rebellion. (The Dark Knight Returns, Transmetropolitan, Watchmen) We see a typical Rush Limbaugh politician-type saying typical Rush Limbaugh politician-type things, while a less threatening opponent tries to speak plainly, but is overridden by an obviously rigged system. It’s sort of a heavy handed way to say “Them bad, we good” But it’s a comic, and at it heart it’s dystopian, so it sort of makes sense. There we learn a little bit about the fate of the crew of Serenity as we jump from person to person, gaining knowledge of different perspectives and giving us a general idea of the future of the plot. This goes on for a long time. The crew members Leaves on the Wind I'm a leafaren’t shown to the audience for a staggering eleven pages. (It’s only been eight years. What’s eleven more pages?) But everything is essentially where it was, with a few exceptions and surprises I won’t reveal due to trying to keep this spoiler-free. Overall it’s exciting to be able to see our favorite characters again, with a few exceptions…ahem.

 

It’s good. Maybe you were expecting more, but that’s it. The world of Firefly is opened up more, and we’re getting to see how other people are affected by the oppressive rule of the Alliance. But that’s a double edged sword. The charm of Serenity can be summed up in two words.

Stockholm Syndrome.

The story was centered around a very small group of people, surrounded by a massive world, throwing them around, and trying to break them. A leaf on the wind. But that leaf was the only perspective available to us. We stayed with this group. We got to know them, their habits, their fears, their strengths and weaknesses. We learned who their enemies were, what happened in their pasts, who they could trust, who they could love, and where the line between the two was. It was all very personal.

Leaves on the Wind Word

When this all started, the crew of the Serenity was our only window in to the world of Firefly, now that the story has moved to comics, realistic limitations like budget, production, actors, and special effects are no longer prevalent. So what does that mean? Well it’s the difference between the old and new Star Wars. Whenever your resources are limited you have to think of the creative ways to bypass your limitations. For example, Kevin Smith had to shoot most of Clerks at night, but the story was taking place in the day, so he wrote the thing about the gum in the locks of the shutters (“Buncha savages in this town”). Sometimes limitations can create the most interesting parts of a story. It’s those quaint quirks that can give your story the pull that brings in an audience. It’s called charm.

With the virtually unlimited resources of a comic book, Serenity loses some of it’s charm. Not much mind you, but it’s enough to notice. We’re introduced to new characters, and there’s a really interesting story brewing about rebellion against the Alliance and how the crew will fit in to it, but that sadly isn’t the story the audience is invested in. We’re not reading about the crew of the Serenity anymore. We’re reading about the whole of the Firefly universe. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not the reason we walked through the door. It’s just a bit jarring to change perspectives so drastically.

Leaves on the wind anywhere

All in all though, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind Part 1 is a fun read that is definitely worth continuing. I love Firefly, and as a fan I wasn’t disappointed. Mal’s distinct voice comes across perfectly in the dialogue, almost all of the favorites (left alive) are included, a potentially intense story about rebellion could be starting, there’s an exciting fan favorite cameo, the art is great with the characters looking like their actors most of the time, the scenes are well crafted and some really pull you in and give you that old feeling you used to get when you watched the show.  In fact, besides a diminished charm, the only real problem is pacing. The story jumps around too much and it doesn’t flow as well as it should in some places. It just sort of gets in a hurry to bypass scenes of colorful dialogue, that in all actuality should be more robust. Regardless, none of that should stop fans from picking this one up. The whole story comes together really well, and promises to be even more exciting in part 2, when we start to see how the crew fits in to unrest building in the verse. I’ll be looking it out for it. Nǐ yuànyì ma?

-PS

All images courtesy of Dark Horse Comics, all rights reserved.   
Official site:
www.darkhorse.com
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind-Part 1 page: http://www.darkhorse.com/Comics/23-608/Serenity-Leaves-on-the-Wind-1-Dos-Santos-cover

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