Serenity: Those Left Behind by Brett Matthews

Firefly was an excellent television series. It was created by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame and was essentially a western in space – literally, not metaphorically. The captain of the ship Serenity, Mal Reynolds, actually wears braces, and in one episode the cargo bay is full of cows, no less. Firefly didn’t make an impact on television and was cancelled after one season, without the season being shown in its entirety. However, it made a big impact on DVD, so big that it spawned a big-budget movie: Serenity. Firefly‘s great strength was the diverse characters of the ship’s crew – from a thief to a preacher. Essentially it’s a ship full of outlaws, runaways, or people trying to make a difference – well, one anyway. Their aim is to try and stay alive, making a dishonest living and steering clear of a corrupt galactic Federation. In theme, I was reminded very much of an old British series from the 1970s called Blake’s 7.

Watching Firefly was a romance that was sweet but all too short, and I was quickly left wanting more. Serenity filled that gap for a while. And now, some comics have arrived to keep the fans happy. Those Left Behind was a mixed experience. In terms of characters, the writer nailed it. So often the crew of Serenity said something that made me smile and think, “Yep. That’s exactly the sort of thing that X would say.” The artwork is also beautifully drawn. The let-down is the story itself. There’s just not enough going on. I don’t think there was a single uninteresting episode of the Firefly series, but this graphic novel reads just like filler material. In fact, it’s clear from the story that it’s set in the time between the series and the movie, and shows how the characters ended up where they were at the start of the movie. As for the content, it’s essentially a case of an old enemy of Mal’s coming after him; fisticuffs; the end. Aside from a sub-plot that descends into the same territory, that’s it.

A vaguely interesting average read and no more.