Dark Horse continues its run of ridiculously
cheap issue 1 reprints with the release of the comic book version of
cult director Joss Whedonís Serenity.
The first thing youíll notice about Serenity
is it throws you right into the middle of a heist. Thereís no
introduction to where you are and when you are, everything is just
how it is and the comic is just going to run with it. To a fan this
is brilliant because you already know all the characters, you know
the sort of planets that populate the Serenity/Firefly
universe and the heist is a very familiar situation. In fact itís a
very similar start to the film version of Serenity, which the
comic lead up to on its original run. To a non-fan, unfortunately,
this situation would be very confusing and thereís not really much
in the way of explanation in the first issue. About the only
character youíll learn anything about is Mal and thatís he was a
soldier and heís not your typical bad-ass bad guy, his crew is more
important than money.
Thing is itís hard to mark Serenity down
for being a hard book for non-fans to read because my understanding
of the series is it was made for fans of the show who were
disappointed with its cancellation on TV and it was an opportunity
to continue the shows stories. In that respect the comic does very
well as it feels like it operates in the same universe as the TV
show. The technology is the same, the mix of Western and Sci-fi
genres is there, the crew is all there with their individual
personalities intact and it just feels like the next adventure for
Mal and his crew. The story also manages to end on a suitable
cliffhanger that will have fans craving more but once again non-fans
will probably end up more confused than when they began.
The main way the comic manages to capture the
feeling of the show is through the terrific dialogue. Obviously
having Whedon onboard has helped the comic to create dialogue that
fits with the show and particularly each character. The only
downside was Malís dialogue, that special kind of noble Western
dialogue, at times doesnít sound as good read off a piece of paper
as it does spoken. Itís meant to be read in a certain way otherwise
it just sounds stupid.
The artwork manages to capture the likeness of
most of the original cast with the only character looking more
generic than specific being Wash, a slight disappointment as he was
always my favorite. On the whole Will Conradís art is incredibly
detailed. If you take the time out to check the backgrounds of the
panels there is a lot of detail and there are a couple of stunning
pages like the chase scene splash page. Conrad also manages to
capture the Western/Sci-fi tone of the show from the first panel.
Thereís a church with a horse out the front and what looks like a
frontier town in the background but also a speeder and a buggy.
Seeing the technology mixed in like that is striking yet appears
oddly natural. The action was handled adequately although for some
reason I never got the sense that the crew were in any real danger.
Overall, Dark Horse has released another great
comic at the ridiculously good price of $1. If there are any
Serenity/Firefly fans that havenít picked up the comics yet then
this is the place you need to start at. The comic feels like just
another episode of the show and the ending will have you wanting
more. To non-fans itís an attractive price and with a basic
understanding of the show itíd be enjoyable but going in completely
cold youíll probably struggle.