One of the biggest comic book announcements to come out of New York Comic-Con in 2013 was the launch of Dark Horse’s limited series Serenity: Leaves on the Wind. Just as Dark Horse and Joss Whedon continued his television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel in comic book “seasons,”Firefly lives on after the show was cancelled in 2002 and the movie Serenity came and went in 2005.
Despite the existence of several one-shots including Serenity: Those Left Behind and The Shepherd’s Tale, this is the first series set post-Serenity. (About eight months after, as you’ll see.) Zack Whedon and co. waste no time in shaking up the series’ canon with three major developments—but whether these game changers will make fans happy is up for debate.
While my initial reaction was “OMG awesome!”, thinking about it more, these changes feel like flashy attempts to drive in diehard fans. Or, as Den of Geek called it, “predictable and hollow bits of fan service.” Let’s lay out each one and what it means for the series. Warning: Major spoilers for the first issue!
When we’re first reunited with the crew of Serenity, Mal and Inara are arguing—no surprise there. But, while they’re debating whether they can trust River to pilot the ship and Inara is guilting him over her having to leave behind her Companion lifestyle for good, they’re also jumping into bed—and clearly this isn’t the first time. I believe that truly the best way to sum this up is via one particular GIF:
It’s kind of great how casual they are that they’re sleeping together. But why now? It’s got to be because Inara stopped being a Companion. Though no one wanted to say it, Mal probably wouldn’t have accepted her any sooner.
What this means for the series: You have to admit, it’s going to be kind of weird to have no unresolved sexual tension on Serenity now that Mal/Inara and Kaylee/Simon are coupled up. Not that it was the only source of the show’s gravitas, but Joss did longing really well.
Introducing… Emma Washburne
Good news: Zoe being pregnant with Wash’s baby is now canon! Bad news: At first it seemed like a super-sappy plotline, with her talking to Wash’s ghost. Good news: In typical Jossian fashion, ghost! Wash keeps reliving his “I am a leaf on the wind” death. Bad news: Zoe gives birth in this first issue. Good news: She jokes about naming the baby Hoban after her father (if only!) but settles for Emma.
Source: Movie Fan Central
What this means for the series: A cute little toddler getting in the way of missions! Picking up guns! Mal getting in touch with his paternal side! Basically, season 1 River, without the ability to kill you with her brain.
Jubal Early’s back!
It seems very Whedonesque to both bring a new life into the world and resurrect someone from the dead. I didn’t guess this masked character’s identity until he said his famous line: “Does that seem right to you?”
Source: Tumblr/Firefly Compendium
What this means for the series: Nice to have a familiar baddie in place, but it feels like a sweeps move to introduce him. No doubt they’ll dispatch him just as handily as they did in “Objects in Space.”
Honestly, the first issue did not need to be crammed with three radical game changers. It feels like a cheap ploy to get the fans in, and I’m not sure they can deliver for the other five issues. But, I’ll keep reading as long as Serenity keeps flying.