Thursday, January 15, 2015

Best Comics of 2014, No. 6 : Serenity: Leaves on the Wind

Running behind my self-imposed schedule, as I'm prone to do, but we persevere!
Today's entry is a reprint of my review from Goodreads, with a couple points expanded and some cool images thrown in.
Cover art for issue 1, without copy
When I see a Star Trek film, even the embarrassing ones,I feel like I'm revisiting old friends (hey, your friends can embarrass you and still be your friends). Yeah, I know it's fiction, but there's a level of familiarity and comfort that welcomes me into the story.
Multiply that by 10 for this book.
If anything, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind is more meaningful in that respect. We get to catch up with the lives of characters we've grown to appreciate and care for, characters we've not seen for a while, in a well-written story that's completely consistent with both on screen and in print predecessors. Kudos to Zack Whedon for carrying on Joss's story!
The art is tight yet fluid, and integrates well with the text.
The story actually began in Dark Horse's 2012 Free Comic Book Day flipbook. The Serenity side was titled "It's Never Easy" and featured a prequel to the events in Leaves on the Wind, including showing Zoe's pregnancy. The prequel art, by the very talented Fabio Moon, is consistent with Georges Jeanty's work on the miniseries proper, though I find Moon's work a bit more quiety aggressive (if that makes sense). I've included representative pages of both in this article. You be the judge!
Moon's art on the FCBD issue

However, from the standpoint of comic binding, this series is somewhat frustrating. Some of Dark Horse's best stories in the Firefly/Serenity arena are only available in small hardcovers. This means they can't be rebound without gutting the book.
But that's a minor concern for most folks. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind is a remarkable achievement. It's touching and tender, action driven and philosophical. It's consistent with its source material while being fresh and new.
My one regret is that Inara is not in this story. We learned during the reunion special that, as many of us suspected, Inara has a fatal disease. In pre-press for this series, Whedon said that was a story that would be told another time. I hope so, as I'd like to see more, but only under the right conditions.
After completing this miniseries, I'm torn on hoping for more. I'd rather see measured doses of quality stories than a glut of mediocrity. As long as they're of this quality, I'll take as many as I can get, but the quality has to come first. If that means we have to wait a while, so be it. I waited months between the final two issues of Watchmen. I can wait for this if I have to, despite my eagerness to learn Inara's fate.
Continuity page from issue 2, spotlighting
Jayne's character
Variant cover for issue 1
Note on reading and process: I read this as floppies, not as a trade. While it may pose frustrations for some, I recommend this approach for Firefly/Serenity material. It feels more like watching new episodes, and having to wait to find out what happens is exciting!
It's worth noting that a hardcover was released in November 2014, for those of you who prefer to read it all in one fell swoop!
Next: Best of 2014, No. 5, as the Doctor is in... sort of...