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Serenity, Vol. 1: Those Left Behind Paperback – January 24, 2006
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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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
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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 the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
I found Those Left Behind to be a highly entertaining product. As even those giving this collection 2 and 3 stars have noted, the art work is beautiful and the likenesses spot on. So at least everyone agrees on that. These at the complaints I've seen: 1) story is short, 2) regular characters don't get enough face time, 3) story is dumb. I've also read that it doesn't seem to have that Joss Whedon magic or touch or feel or what have you. I am not qualified to answer that criticism as I don't consider myself a fan of Joss outside of the Firefly universe. So I judge this collection based on what I know of Firefly, not of Mr. Whedon's style.
I will admit that the story is short and it goes by very fast. However, I feel that it has about as much action and plot as one would expect form a single Firefly episode, broken up into 3 acts. This isn't a season long story arc or even a movie length plot. Think of it as a Firefly Episode. It could have been fleshed out into a movie length plot and possibly benefited from the extra time to expand upon what happened. That is probably true for any Firefly episode and certainly true for the series as a whole. Just as we accepted those constraints, so must we accept the three comic story arc constraint.
I believe the fact that the story is short accounts for the complaints about the face time for main characters. But how often do all the main characters get tons of face time in a single episode? There is normally a main storyline involving a few of the characters and subplots involving all the others. Well, that is the case here as well. I think the main story line here is Mal trying to find a source of income to keep Serenity and crew afloat. The rest of the cast is there to support that, tie up loose ends, and bridge the gaps between series and film. In my estimation, that goal is achieved.
Which brings me to the story that detractors find lacking. Mal is trying to make some coin, but instead is constantly double-crossed and ambushed. He has to make tough decisions in the face of failure. In fact, I think the story is all about Mal's failures and him trying to deal with them: war, business, captain, love. His frustration comes through constantly in the dialog and the art, but he still has to make the best choices he can under the circumstances. If people think that is a dumb story, I guess there is no changing their minds.
Maybe they found the action lacking. Personally, I enjoyed all of the action sequences. As with any comic book, the reader's imagination has to fill in the space between panels and interpret the action that is being portrayed. I think the art team did a great job of making that easy to do, as is their responsibility. However, I could see detractors of this collection finding the sequences passed by too quickly, perhaps appearing to make light of bad guys they thought should've lasted longer.
Bottom Line: Despite the short nature of the collection, it has great characterization, beautiful art work, fun action scenes, all wrapped up in that familiar Firefly feel. Even if it isn't your favorite Firefly story ever, I believe it is a don't-miss for even casual fans if only to know what happened between the series and the movie.
Not only does this continue the story of the Serenity crew, we meet several characters we already know and lo...dislike again. Good times.
The world info/history at the end was interesting as well. Looking forward to the rest of these.
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.