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Serenity, Vol. 1: Those Left Behind Paperback – January 24, 2006
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With the war between the Alliance and the independent Browncoats over, Mal Reynolds, captain of the Serenity, and his crew of misfits, fugitives, and would-be outlaws work the frontier. Defeated and directionless, their goal has become simply to keep flying, and Mal is willing to take any job, in- or outside the law, to achieve it. Although their willingness to flout rules has occasionally played to their favor, they may be in over their heads in taking aboard Simon and his damaged sister, River, secretive fugitives from the Alliance. Mal and his crew may not know it, but the hunt is on, and the Alliance is right behind them. Whedon elaborates on his Firefly universe in this small prequel to the movie Serenity. If this story doesn't have much in the way of plot or background, an aura of character study suffuses it, enlightening Serenity newcomers while warming the hearts of fans. Will Conrad's slick and fluid artwork captures the essence of how the film actors realized the characters without losing comic-book feel. Tina Coleman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Laura Martin has written more than 15 gardening and crafts books. She is a frequent lecturer and has appeared on QVC, " Victory Garden," and "Our Home." The Marvel and Other Short Stories is a collected anthology of six short stories written by the winners of the Austin Macauley World Book Day short story competition. Allie writes and edits comics and stories for Dark Horse Comics and other publishers. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Melinda and their phantom cat, Shadow. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Here is my suspicion: I'm guessing that the novel partly arose from an unfilmed, partially scripted episode from the television series, and a not terribly good episode at that. Many of the scenes seem to merely mimic scenes to be found in the series and the film, while the scenes that are completely original simply aren't very inspired. The story is also very unbalanced. If you read writing guides on how to write a TV script or a film script or a short story one rule of thumb is that a script needs to have three to five acts (depending on the writing coach). This graphic story feels as if Act One takes up the first two thirds of the book, with too little space devoted to the climax, and an act or two missing. To be honest, it doesn't feel like a completed story at all.
So does the book have any redeeming values? As I stated above, it is a well-drawn story. The problem is entirely the story, not the art. Storywise, it does provide some filler between the end of the series and before the start of the action in the movie. That is not a small thing, but the problem is that there just isn't much of a story. In fact, the whole thing feels more like an outline of a story rather than a story.
Do I recommend this to fellow Browncoats? I guess I don't. Now, if someone had told me not to get it, I would probably have ignored him or her and gotten it anyway, so I won't blame any FIREFLY fan wanting this as well. But while the series and the movie are things I treasure, this is a story I may never look at again. So while I don't recommend it, any real fan of the show is going to want to own it. Then we can all be disappointed together while we await word as to whether the DVD sales of the movie will be sufficient to bring about a made for TV movie or mini-series.
The true gem of this work, though, is Joss' Brief History of the Universe, Circa 2516. It explains a lot of things about his high-concept vision of Firefly and Serenity, and how the world came to be as it was. This information was never conveyed in the series explicitly, and although it was implied, it was quite nice to have it all spelled out.
I am looking forward to future Serenity graphic novels, as I, like many others, feel the show was cancelled far to soon and there are plenty of stories left to tell about these characters.
Okay, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, Firefly was a sci-fi television series developed by the inimitable Joss Whedon and Tim Minear for Fox Television in 2002. Following a series of debacles at the studio, including the decision to air the episodes all out of order, the series was canceled after only fourteen episodes. The show’s devoted fan base was devastated, and promptly started a massive grassroots campaign to save the series. Based on the sheer enthusiasm of this fan base, Universal Pictures took the then-unheard of step of contracting a theatrical follow-up to the television series. Ever since there have been persistent rumors that the series is coming back, but for now and maybe forever the Browncoat army (as we Firefly/Serenity fans are known around the interwebs) have to content ourselves with the stellar comics Dark Horse intermittently releases.
After the Earth was used up, Humanity found itself a new home in a massive star system with hundreds of planets and moons, terraforming each until it could sustain human life. The central planets formed the Alliance and successfully subjugated the entire system, crushing the Independents in a bloody civil war. Most of the surviving Independents have drifted out to the fringes of society, out where Alliance control is nominal at best, out where a ship under your feet and a gun on your hip will give you a chance to carve out a living for yourself and those that count on you….
Those Left Behind serves as the bridge between Firefly and Serenity, helping to wrap up a few of the discarded plot threads that didn’t make the cut for the film. Here we see Mal struggling with Inara’s decision to leave, as well as the catalyst for Shepherd Book’s own departure. On a more plot-related note, witness the reappearance of Agent Dobson and the identity of those sinister Alliance agents in the blue bodysuits…. The best compliment I can offer this book is that it legitimately blends into the rest of the franchise. The dialogue, timing, and characterization is all spot-on, easing the transition between the different media. The art is incredible too, so that helps. I could say more, but really it all boils down to this: Watch the show, read this comic, then watch the film. You won’t be sorry you did.
CONTENT: Minor profanity, including a good deal of cursing in Chinese. A fair amount of violence, gory and occasionally disturbing. Mild sexual innuendo, mostly as under-the-breath commentary and asides.