by Chris Tobias
It’s been almost fourteen years since we last saw the crew of Serenity on-screen in the Universal motion picture of the same name. Since that time, Browncoats who yearn for more stories of the exploits of the crew of their favorite Firefly-class transport ship have had to look to another medium to get their fix– comics.
Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews wrote the first comics set in the Firefly universe back in 2005– a three-issue limited series entitled Serenity: Those Left Behind. The series was designed to bridge the gap between the Firefly television series and the motion picture Serenity, and revealed the fate of the two Alliance agents with “hands of blue” while also featuring the return of Lawrence Dobson, the antagonist from the series’ pilot episode.
The three-issue series would be the first of no less than ten original stories set in the Firefly universe that were published by Dark Horse Comics over the next twelve years, some set before the events of the movie Serenity, others picking up the story where the film left off. The comics, which included four limited series, four “one-shot” stories and one original graphic novel, all appeared under the name Serenity (in part because of property rights issues between Fox and Universal), and many of them were written either by Firefly creator Joss Whedon himself or by his brother Zack. They are all available now in various trade paperback collections in both hard- and softcover editions from large book retailers like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, as well as at your local comics shop.
This past year, however, the rights to the Firefly comics license changed hands from Dark Horse Comics to Los Angeles-based publisher Boom! Studios, which almost immediately began publication of a new ongoing series about Serenity and her crew that is simply called Firefly. The inaugural issue of this ongoing series, the first ongoing comics series set in the Firefly universe, made its debut in November of 2018. It is written by veteran comics writer Greg Pak (whose credits include Action Comics, Hulk, and Battlestar Galactica), with art by Dan McDaid, colors by Marcelo Costa and lettering by Jim Campbell. The story is set between the events of the final episode of the television series and those of the movie (and also, presumably, before the events of Serenity: Those Left Behind), so all nine members of Serenity’s crew are featured in the story (something that is no doubt welcome news to Browncoats who are big fans of Wash and Shepherd Book). So far three issues of the series have gone to print, with the fourth (the conclusion to the series’ first story arc) scheduled to hit shelves in late February.
At this point you might be wondering: after three issues, is the new Firefly comics series from Boom! Studios a tale that’s going for hard burn, or is it kind of on the drift? Well, if you’d like the honest, relatively spoiler-free opinion of a hardcore Browncoat, who also just happens to be an avid reader and collector of comics with a personal collection numbering in the thousands, then I’m your huckleberry. Read on, my fellow Browncoats, read on!