SERENITY: LEAVES ON THE WIND #1
Writer: Zack Whedon
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Publisher: Dark Horse
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool news)
I’ve been a right true browncoat since the Firefly class ship, Serenity, first started its rebel mission in the dusty corners of space inside our televisions (back before 2nd screen was a thang). I marveled at Fox’s cluctfuckery of scheduling where the Hollywood suits unwisely aired the second episode instead of the2 hour first episode. After all, who actually wants an introduction to a new universe, just throw us in after the relationships have been established. Thanks Fux. I then joined the letter writing campaign to resurrect the crew on the silver screen. Finally, I have been as true as the north star in book touring my way through all of the wonderful incarnations of Firefly that continued in comics form from our good friends at Dark Horse.
I won’t lie, some have been better than others, but one thing they all shared in common was their way-back look at the crew. SERENITY BETTER DAYS gave us a slew of side missions that occurred within TV canon when the camera wasn’t pointed at the crew. Then came the Shepard Book…well…book, A SHEPARD’S TALE that explored how Serenity’s resident chaplain found God or whatever the hell the equivalent is in the future at the bottom of a bowl of soup. This was an extra shiny treat for me, because I had the opportunity to interview Book’s real-life persona, Ron Glass, who had a say good say into Book’s back-story on set.
SERENITY: LEAVES ON THE WIND is the shiniest entry to the comic continuance thus far. Foibles of old have been rectified, and finally I feel as though the breath I’ve been holding since Wash was impaled by a runaway log flume cart has been released.
First, a note on the art. BETTER DAYS creeped me the hell out. The overly lifelike visages of reynold’s looking cocky, Zoe looking indignant, Wash looking stoned and River catatonic was just too harsh of a juxtaposition on the more cartoon bodies. Yes, I fault artist’s sometimes for being too good at their craft. Jeanty has the right blend of reverence for the actor’s true form, while remembering we don’t need to hand these out as a mug shot later. Jeanty also does a bang up job capturing the unique essence of the space-crafts in this universe, those Alliance city ships must be a real wang ba dan de biao zi to wrap one’s head around.
As for the story…again, I feel complete as a fan. Endings are hard, and they become even harder without any real sense of closure. In the movie Serenity lives were lost and the faith of the universe was shattered with the futuristic Vine the crew released into the stratosphere about the Alliance creating the Reavers. The only waft of the outcome was the all too brief appearance of a very Pregnant First Mate, Zoe, at the end of the not funny enough one-shot that focused on Wash (sorry, but when a book is penned by Patton Oswalt and it’s about the funniest bastard on the ship, I expect a stain on the seat by the time I’m done reading).
LEAVES ON THE WIND was perfectly subdued. You really can’t escalate from where the movie left off, to do so would merely set this team up for an epic implosion. Some might argue that the absence of Book, Wash and now Jayne (don’t worry, he’s not dead, simply a freelancer now) has already diminished the staying power of the dynamic, but I disagree. Because the vacuum created by those forces finally collapsed the chasms of pride, arrogance and fear that had kept other crew members apart. Reynolds and Inara, have finally abolished the “will they, won’t they.” And even though they are the run from the Alliance, desperate for a respite of fresh air, they find renewed strength in one another’s embrace. Likewise for Simon and Kaylee, though their love is far more playful and far les jaded, both seem to be better people for coming together. Even bat-shit River has now found an emotional tether outside of Simon. Her connection is now with Serenity as she takes over the seat once occupied by Wash.
There are some other big moments in the book, but you’ll just have to read it for those. While I found them entertaining it truly were the quieter moments between the characters as well as the first chinks being exposed in the Alliance armor that I found most alluring. I’m also going to applaud Whedon, this is one of the first books where I didn’t feel an aping of Joss. Past titles, were too much of the jokey cadence, this all felt…genuine.