Comic Review: Serenity: Leaves on the Wind Part 6 & Series Wrap-up (Dark Horse)

While this is technically a review of Leaves on the Wind Volume 6, I’m also going to be using it to wrap up the series as a whole. Volume 6 […]

While this is technically a review of Leaves on the Wind Volume 6, I’m also going to be using it to wrap up the series as a whole.

Volume 6 just sort of came out of nowhere. There’s no real drama, and it’s all wrapped up a little too quickly. It’s all so easy, that it doesn’t feel like anything was ever wrong to begin with. A few storylines get tied up in a nice neat little bow, but that’s not what Firefly is about. Zoe confronts the Operative for the first time since Wash’s death, but nothing really comes from it. However, the volume does create an ideal jumping off point for the crew’s next adventure, and while I was less than thrilled about this finale, I’m no less enthusiastic at seeing another one of the crew’s adventures.

But this isn’t about the future, it’s about Leaves on the Wind as a whole.
Serenity 6 Mal and chick

On the one hand, it had tons of references to and cameos from the tv show and the movie that would leave any Browncoat cheering towards the heavens. But even Mal could tell you that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is, and as a Browncoat myself, my desire to like Serenity: Leaves on the Wind was constantly at odds with what I believe a truly good story should be. In the end though it takes more than desire, and Leaves on the Wind misses the mark in the places it should be strongest. As the series continued, I couldn’t help but wonder where the next volume was going to go. There was never a clear cut destination, which makes sense because it’s Firefly and the commentary of the lead characters on their actions is what makes the destination unimportant. Right from the get-go, Firefly has been about the who more than the what, and it has some of the best who you’d see in a story of it’s kind. What does this have to do with Leaves on the Wind? Therein lies the problem, it has nothing to do with it. They left the who behind in favor of the plot, and plot is good when it’s streamlined, simple and easy to follow with a lot of interesting interactions and drama along the way. Flesh out the characters, and the exposition will come out on it’s own. When you force it it just feels unnatural, and when your main draw is how cool and laid back your characters are, unnatural is the same as death.Leaves on the wind problems

Too much is happening in Leaves on the Wind and not enough time is devoted to any one piece of the plot to make any part of it memorable. All the characters feel like their reading from a script, with not a bit of it coming off as characteristic or organic. The dialogue, and dialect, is forced and doesn’t do the job at conveying real personality. The story size is small (It’s only 6 volumes!), and yet Zack Whedon tries to jam so much FiLeaves on the Wind Wordrefly past and future in to it that it just gets too convoluted, and every plot line has to end abruptly without getting a proper showing. Jubal Early terrorizes the crew for a little bit and is then subdued, a rebellion against the alliance comes and goes, The Operative comes back, fights, and dies (maybe), a girl like River is rescued, beats up the crew, and then is okay again, Zoe is put on an inescapable, harsh, desert prison, then escapes. I mean how do you cover this much ground in less than 100 comic book pages? It’s too much. There were moments when the real characters shone through all of this, but they were few and far between and weren’t nearly enough to save the mess of a story as a whole. Frankly, I don’t think Firefly should ever be this big, because it’s not as good at big epic set-pieces as it is at personal exploration and self imposed exile. Maybe leading in to the next volume immediately will alleviate these sudden storyline speed bumps, but as a monthly series Leaves on the Wind goes too fast and slams on the breaks so abruptly that you can get whiplash as the plot suddenly shifts gears. As usual, Jeanty does some solid work at illustrating action and choreography, but his use of camera angles to convey drama lacks significantly from his work on the Buffy(Dark Horse) and Gambit(Mavel) series, and Zack Whedon seems to have learned a lot about writing from the problems in The Shepard’s Tale, but his usual problems of not spending adequate time on one part of the story, and trying to go too big are still just as noticeable as they were before. But that still leads to the big question. Should you read Leaves on the Wind? Yes. If you’re a Firefly fan, you absolutely should.  They’re still the same characters, and there’s a lot to love as far the charm in those characters goes. But with all the problems you’re gonna be better off picking up the trade than clamoring to collect all of the singles.

 

-PS

All images courtesy of Dark Horse Comics, all rights reserved.   
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Serenity: Leaves on the Wind Vol.6 & Serenity: Leaves on the Wind HC Preorder

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