Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 Review

Its been 8 long years since Serenity provided some closure for fans of the cult television hit Firefly, yet the Firefly/Serenity universe still seemed like it had many more tales to tell. In 2005, Dark Horse Comics published a three-issue miniseries entitled Serenity: Those Left Behind, whose events take place between the television show and the movie. Another three-issue miniseries was published in 2008 titled Serenity: Better Days, again taking place in-between the show and the movie, and a hardcover graphic novel titled The Shepherd’s Tale, a chronicle of the life of Shepherd Book through a series of flashbacks, was released in 2010. Two shorter stories have been written since then, Serenity: Downtime and Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 – It’s Never Easy were released in 2011 and 2012 respectively. The latter of the two takes place after Serenity, but makes no mention about the events from the film other than a very pregnant Zoe.

Now that the history lesson is out of the way, what in the ‘verse have Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of Serenity been up too? The answer is…a bit of a mystery.

Issue #1 cover by Dan Dos Santos

Issue #1 cover by Dan Dos Santos

Issue one of Leaves on the Wind takes place eight months after the conclusion of Serenity, and the aftershocks from those revelations are hitting the ‘verse and Alliance head on. Activists calling themselves “The New Resistance” are taking a stance against the Alliance but realize they can’t strengthen their cause much further with Mal hiding somewhere out in the ‘verse. The Alliance is after Mal and crew as well and placed a bounty on his head. Meanwhile the crew of Serenity are facing several dire issues that are about to bring an end to their eight month “vacation,” as Inara termed it.

Come the end of this issue, we are left with more questions than answers. What happened over those eight months that caused a certain crew member to leave Serenity? Can Zoe keep hidden the emotional fallout she’s suffering after losing Wash? Can the New Resistance convince Mal to be their face against the Alliance?

Written by Zack Whedon, Joss Whedon’s younger brother, Leaves on the Wind doesn’t miss a beat with its dialogue, characterization, and storytelling. Firefly and Serenity may be Joss’s babies, but Zack continues with the excellence that his big brother created eight years ago.

The art, however, is a different story. The three person team of Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, and Laura Martin create some great looking environments and surroundings, all very fitting of the Firefly/Serenity universe. Yet the character designs are lacking, particularly Mal and crew as they rarely, if ever, look like their real life acting counterparts. As a fan of Firefly from day one, I struggled to put the poor visual representation of the crew past me and it almost made me want to stop reading the issue altogether. Petty, yes, but I was able to move on because the writing is that good.

In conclusion, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind is the perfect follow-up story to Serenity. Serving as the first issue in a six-part miniseries, I can’t recommend this issue enough for fans of Firefly and Serenity. If you haven’t at least seen Serenity, though you definitely should watch Firefly first (both available on Netflix), then I recommend you stay away from reading Leaves on the Wind for the time being as you will be completely lost. Leaves on the Wind has all the makings of being a great sci-fi epic, and after this opening issue, I have faith that Zack Whedon will deliver a tale worthy of being told throughout the ‘verse.