FireflyJoss Whedon Offers Readers Serenity
By Paul Davidson
Friday 3 June 2005, by Webmaster
New comics based on the Firefly universe promise glimpses of things to come.
June 2, 2005 - When we last left Captain Malcolm and his ragtag crew of smugglers, the schemes of a sinister bounty hunter had been foiled, and River was learning to interact with the crew, slowly overcoming the debilitating effects of the government’s mysterious experiments on her.
And while the adventures of Serenity and her crew — alone in the wild fringes of Alliance territory — continue, we’re left in the dark, waiting for Joss Whedon’s feature film. As any fan knows by now, Serenity has been postponed from its original April release date until September.
But Mal Reynolds and his gang have a knack for coming to the rescue, and those of us who desperately need more Firefly are the ones being rescued this summer. Thanks to Dark Horse Comics, a special three-issue series of Firefly comic books will hit news-stands and comic shops this summer, letting us in on the events that befall the Serenity crew in between the television series and the upcoming movie.
Joss Whedon, the creator of Firefly and several other quirky TV shows (Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is behind the comic series himself; he’ll be writing the three issues along with Brett Matthews, one of the original Firefly series scribes.
The job of pencilling and coloring the Firefly comics goes to the young artist Vilmar Nunes Conrado, who draws under the name Will Conrad. While Conrad’s work may not be well known, the up-and-coming Brazilian has worked with Joss Whedon before, and Whedon has a knack for holding onto talent. Indeed, many of the Serenity crew first began working with Whedon on the sets of Buffy and Angel: Nathan Fillion (Mal), Gina Torres (Zoe), and Adam Baldwin (Jayne) all had memorable roles as villains in those earlier projects of Whedon’s.
While Will Conrad may still be a bit of a newcomer in the comic scene, he’s certainly no slouch with the pen and pencil, as his online comic gallery demonstrates. Conrad has worked on several Dark Horse Publications — notably The Scorpion King and Star Wars Tales — and was introduced to Joss Whedon’s franchises when he helped ink Buffy the Vampire Slayer #35.
When the first issue of the three-part Serenity miniseries hits the street on July 6, the intrepid Reynolds and company find themselves in the midst of another heist gone wrong. The Serenity crew must outwit both government agents and mercenaries if they want to keep their operation — and their lives — intact. If it sounds like more of the same, it probably is — more of what made Firefly so good, anyway. Brett Matthews promises a tone that is identical to the television show, with all scares, laughs and romanctic tension. "It’s funny, it’s tragic, it’s thrilling, it’s sexy, it’s uplifting and it’s depressing — all at the same time... that complex mix that permeates the show and film and which Joss is without peer at.
"The struggle is that of the show, it remains the same — how do you make your way in a very hard world? In Mal’s case, a world that pretty much wants nothing to do with you? That you fought to keep from becoming what it has... and lost. What are you willing to do to survive? How much does it take to make a life worth living? Where do you draw your lines? What do you take with you, and what do you leave behind?"
Ultimately, it’s these questions that help draw us into the Firefly story. Reynolds and his comrades don’t have everything together like the crew of the USS Enterprise do. Neither are they fighting an epic battle of good versus evil like the heroes of Star Wars. They’ve already lost their wars, and now they’re just trying to survive. Only their own fates — and those of their fellow passengers — rest in their hands; and in that way, they’re just like the rest of us.
So what else can we expect from the Serenity comics? Perhaps the return of some familiar faces; Matthews hinted that the crime boss Badger would make an appearance, for example. And then there are the numerous mysteries that beg for revelation; for instance, what is Shepherd Book’s real story? A few more clues to that puzzle will present themselves in the comic collection, but not necessarily any complete answers. And disclosure in the biggest mystery so far, the true nature of the Alliance’s interest in River, will have to wait until Serenity the movie.
Undoubtedly, the comics will share something else in common with the TV series; they’ll leave us hanging and wanting more. But who knows; if the comics sell well, and the movie is a hit, Firefly just might find its way back onto TV.