Thursday, January 21, 2010

Those Left Behind / Better Days [Reviewed by Mark Chitty]

There aren't many genre fans that won't have heard of Firefly, the excellent sci-fi series by Joss Whedon that was cancelled after a mere 14 episodes - a travesty. A lot of people are in agreement that Firefly is one of the greatest shows ever to grace our screens, and as such you can pretty much apply the phrase: you can't kill a good thing. After the cancellation of the show we were blessed with a big screen outing from the crew of the Serenity in a film by the same name, and after that we've been given two mini-series in the form of comics.

I've recently read the comics - Those Left Behind and Better Days - and I can honestly say that stories of Serenity and her crew is extremely well suited to this format and gives fans of the show that little bit more of what they love. What exactly is that? Well, more stories of the crew of Serenity for one. Both of these are set at some point between the end of the Firefly tv series and the Serenity movie, and all characters are aboard for some action in a couple of stories that feel very much like an episode of Firefly in a different format.

Those Left Behind is the first of the two comics and is a tale typical of Mal Reynolds and his crew. With information on a great stash of money left over from the wars given to the crew of Serenity they decide to head off and see if they can get their hands on it. However, as usual they find themselves double crossed and in a situation that requires more than subtlety to get out of.

Better Days is the second of the comic stories and allows the crew an the position of finding an unexpectedly large amount of money during a heist. They get to relax and we see some interesting visions of what each of the crew envisage they'll be doing with the cash they have. But with an Alliance special ops leader on the trail of a Dust Devil, a terrorist left over from the war, Mal once again finds himself in a seemingly hopeless situation that requires the crew to get him out of.

Above all, these two comics are a continuation of the characters we know and love. It doesn't matter that it's in a different format, in fact the opposite - it's great. While Joss Whedon has had some input into this I feel safe in the knowledge that something I love so much isn't being thrown to the dogs for just anyone to have a go.

While the story aspect fills me with joy, the artwork makes my heart flutter. Seriously, it's drop-dead-gorgeous. While you could probably read the comic in 15 minutes or so it's well worth taking the extra time to savour the scenes depicted within the pages and see just how alive they can be. These guys have done a great job of bring the characters on screen to life on the page, and the one-page character pieces in Those Left Behind are the highlight of this.

I'm not a huge comic reader, but when I read something I have love for anyway in this format I can't believe I don't read more. I'm going to have to remedy that...


Mark Chitty: My most honorable guest today is a an esteemed colleague in the reviewing circles with refined taste for the Sci-Fi modern publishing can provide. Make sure you drop by his blog: Walker of Worlds and see what it's all about.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Firefly was an awesome show! Adding these to my list right now.

Harry Markov said...

I haven't watched it, yet! I am not sure when, but I know that eventually I will.

Hagelrat said...

Can't kill the signal. I have the first of these and loved it. Shiny. ;)

Terra said...

I do not read many comics but I love Firefly and Serenity very much so I have both of these on my bookshelf. Fellow browncoats definitely need to pick them up!

Thanks for reviewing these!

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