Few things in pop culture are as disappointing as the cancellation of Joss Whedon’s western tinged science fiction series Firefly. Sure we got a movie out of the deal, and a pretty damn spectacular one at that, but there was so much potential in the concept that to be cheated out it by Fox stings worse than most premature cancellations. Well, all that is in the past! Following in the footsteps of Firefly’s big sister, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, the continuing adventures of the Firefly class freighter Serenity are finally continuing. “Huzzah!” the multitudes cry! Of course, it is in comic book form which I’m sure will make some of you turn your nose up. For the rest of us, especially the ones that have eagerly been reading Season 8, 9, and 10 (myself I’m still only on Season 9) of the Buffy series this is a time for celebration. There have been 3 Firefly stories released prior to this book, but none have been set after the movie. This is the true continuation of Firefly. This is canon. If you don’t see that as cause for excitement stop reading now because there is nothing for you here.
It has been 8 months since the events of the movie. The broadcast of the Miranda recording has sowed the seeds of a new revolution across the ‘verse, and both the Alliance and the New Rebels are searching for Mal Reynolds and Serenity who are nowhere to be found. The Alliance sends their top agents to track down the psychic River Tam, not for revenge, but to stop her before even more of their secrets can be revealed. Meanwhile, the crew of Serenity are running out of supplies. The heat from the Alliance has made it impossible to find work and they are running out of time. Just as things are getting desperate, in true Firefly tradition, it gets worse. Zoe is pregnant and after a rough child birth attended by Simon requires medical help in an actual hospital. This forces Serenity to come out of hiding and triggers a series of events that propels Mal and crew back in to the fight and on the run with old friends and new enemies in pursuit.
Zack Whedon has taken over writing the series and Georges Jeanty illustrates with Joss Whedon as Executive Producer. I’m not sure what Joss’ title means but you don’t need to worry about Zack taking over as writer. From the first page Leaves on the Wind looks and sounds like Firefly. From the first appearance of Mal and crew I couldn’t help grinning at the return of that very distinctive dialogue:
Inara: Where are we, Mal?
River: We’re not anywhere.
Mal: Someplace no one ever thought to name which is as good a spot as any for now.
Inara: How long do you plan on staying nowhere?
Mal: Long as we need.
Inara: We can’t run forever.
Mal: We’re not running!
Inara: Well then this is the worst vacation I’ve ever been on.
See what I mean? This IS the Firefly we know and love, but without the limitations of a TV show or even movie budget. Just as Season 8 of Buffy blew the doors wide open with visuals and scope that would have cost half a billion to bring to screen, so too has Leaves on the Wind. There were moments I was gasping, laughing, and shouting while reading because it is so perfectly realized and captures the characters so well. The artwork is gorgeous and beautifully captures both the grand scope and the little character moments.
Let’s face it, even if Joss decided to wield his considerable – and well deserved – clout to bring Firefly back it still would never be the same. The cast is older and some of them likely wouldn’t return; they’ve moved on. There have been way too many once beloved characters that fall flat after years absent so why risk it? By continuing the story in comic book form the characters can continue ageless and the universe of Firefly can be as grand as the writers envision it.
See you in the Black.